We’ve been telling you this was coming, and now it’s official.
The Chinese Basketball Association has blocked teams from signing any NBA player under contract from coming to the league, according to sports.163.com (via HoopsHype).
That means no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade, no Dirk Nowitzki.
Chinese league officials put together a list of 108 free agents from the NBA that teams can sign for a full season. Players not on that list cannot be signed.
Chinese teams had been operating with the assumption that the league would ban opt-out clauses for NBA players, then the teams would just reach a handshake agreement to drop a player when the lockout ended. By putting a list of available players together, the league may stop this.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to us — why ban a big name player that would win games, sell tickets and sell merchandise? But for the Chinese government (who really runs the league) the league is there to build up the Chinese national team. Renting NBA players does not further that goal, in fact it takes minutes away from some Chinese player. Also, they do not want the perception of being a league where NBA players go to vacation.
I’d like to think this will stop the rumors of “Player X is going to China,” but we all know better.
The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:
In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.