Tag: Kobe to China

NBA basketball player Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles to fans upon his arrival at a stadium during his 2011 China Tour in Changsha

Report: Chinese team still trying to get Kobe… for exhibitions

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Kobe Bryant cannot play in a Chinese Basketball Association league game. Last week that league shut down what might have been an NBA influx ruling that only NBA free agents can be signed by Chinese teams. Players under contract — Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and others — cannot be signed even with an opt-out clause.

So, no Kobe in a league game in China.

But an exhibition game might be another matter. That is the report out of sina.com (via Hoopshype).

Chinese club Shanxi Zhongyu won’t give up even though the CBA banned players under contract to play in China. According to some sources, Shanxi is trying to invite Kobe to play with the team in some warm-up games or exhibition games before the CBA season starts. That’s not against the rule.

Take it with a few grains of salt, but this also might be something Kobe would do — it would raise is profile in China, sell some Nikes and he is not making a long-term commitment. If the NBA lockout drags on into late November and December don’t be shocked to see this happen.

Chinese paper reports Kobe agrees to deal, Kobe denies it

NBA basketball player Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles to fans upon his arrival at a stadium during his 2011 China Tour in Changsha

UPDATE 2:37 pm: It didn’t take long for Kobe’s people to shoot this idea down. As expected, Kobe’s people deny there is a deal, here is the tweet from ESPN’s Chris Broussard who talked with a source:

Contrary to reports out of China, Kobe hasn’t agreed to deal w/any team, source says. He’s still weighing all options.

I still think he doesn’t sign anywhere, and China may not be an option now anyway.

10:39 am: I think this happening is about as likely as Kanye West becoming the next President of the United States.

Yet I will pass it along because it’s too big to ignore.

The Chinese publication sohu.com is reporting that Kobe Bryant has agreed to terms to play for Shanxi Zhongyu in China next season (via Hoopshype). The publication says the team president is the source.

There are a few reasons not to buy this. For one, Kobe reportedly is not that close to making a decision on what to do during the lockout. It is very possible that Shanxi Zhongyu is one of the hundreds of teams that have reached out to Kobe and his agent looking to make a deal. But that is very different than Kobe signing on the dotted line. In the end I’d be shocked if Kobe signs anywhere (he wants another ring badly and his knees could use the rest).

Another reason is that China has moved to block NBA players under contract from coming in to the league.

Chinese league officials have put out a list of 108 free agents from the NBA that teams can sign for a full season. Players not on that list — players like Kobe with an NBA deal — cannot be signed.

I know, it’s very un-American to think that way, to say that you can’t bring in a star that would win games, sell tickets and sell merchandise even if it is for a short time. But the Chinese league is run by the Chinese government, the same people who try to limit internet access and limit families to one child. They are not afraid of big, stupid moves. In this case, they think renting NBA players would hurt development of Chinese players and the Chinese national team, so they won’t do it.

Kobe has an NBA deal for next season (for $25 million, he will be the highest paid player in the league). So, he is not on the list of players Chinese teams can sign.

But the report is out there, and you can believe it if you want President West.

Report: Kobe offered more than $1.5 million a month to play in China

NBA basketball player Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles to fans upon his arrival at a stadium during his 2011 China Tour in Changsha
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Kobe Bryant dropped out of negotiations with a Turkish squad, but you knew other teams were going to make big money runs at him.

And they are coming from China, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant(notes) has offers north of $1.5 million a month to play in China, and sources say he’d be inclined to accept a contract except for the one immense hurdle standing in his way: Chinese Basketball Association officials will likely pass a rule in the middle of this week forbidding the signing of players with NBA opt-out clauses.

We told you that rule was coming but we also told you many Chinese teams are ignoring it. Chinese teams often go through multiple foreign players a season, picking up one and dropping another casually. Essentially the teams would make handshake agreements to drop a player once the lockout ended and they don’t think there is much the league could do about it.

The teams have money from sponsors in China and you can bet Nike and other shoe/apparel manufactures would encourage — and pick up part of the tab? — their biggest stars to play in the biggest market in the world. It’s all about marketing, Kobe’s salary (even at $2 million a month) would be half of his NBA salary next season, so this is all about selling shoes.

Woj touches on the other side of this discussion — it would really anger the Chinese government if their league became a rent-a-player home for the NBA. And the NBA wants to stay in good with the Chinese government, as does Nike.

Still, China is where the teams are making a push and where there is potential — there is the money and because the league doesn’t start until December players would have a better read on where the lockout stands after games are missed by the time they have to report to camp.

Shanxi has been the most aggressive Chinese team in pursuing NBA talent, sources said, and has made players offers of well over $1 million per month. As one agent who recently visited officials in China told Yahoo! Sports, “I think there are five or six $750,000-plus jobs left right now, and most teams will offer between $40,000 and $100,000 a month to NBA players. Every team will sign a U.S. center, and half of them a point guard, and half a wing player.”

It’s going to get interesting folks. Very interesting.

Kobe joins the “Hey, I may play overseas” parade

Kobe China

Make no mistake, this is about leverage in negotiations.

However the threat of going overseas to play sounds reasonable coming from Kobe, a guy who has the money and is a competitor at heart. Doesn’t mean the guy whose body could use a little rest is actually going to go over to Europe or China, or even Turkey.

But as you can see from the video (with quotes below) he is playing along with the union’s “I’m open to playing overseas game.

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“The one thing about basketball is it’s a global sport now, so you can play anywhere you want to.

“As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls, whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or a team here in China decides to call, then I’ll be ready….

“I always like being the hunter, I’m going after something. It doesn’t matter that I have one now, that means nothing to me. I have five (NBA titles), next year I’m playing like I don’t have five, you know what I mean? I’m playing for that one. I’m not looking over my shoulder and seeing who is coming behind me, I’m coming to get something else.”

The reality is that while may well do a barnstorming tour of China but don’t expect more, no matter how long the lockout goes. But he knows how to play the game… the negotiations game.