Tag: NBA to China

CBA 11/12 First Round: Guangdong Hongyuan v Zhejiang Chouzhou

Kenyon Martin is out, but don’t expect exodus from China


Kenyon Martin has been the trail blazer, showing the path out of China back to the NBA.

But the path isn’t that appealing — you can’t sign to play anywhere else until the Chinese season ends, which is mid-February at the earliest and the playoffs go until late March. And you stop getting paid. So don’t expect J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks to go running down it, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

“China will let these guys go home, but they’ll stop your money or even ask you for some of the money back, and you can’t play for another team around the world until your team in China’s season is over,” the source said…. …but according to a source, Smith was told that if he leaves, he would have to repay all the money he’s already made plus the $500,000 buyout. And of course, he wouldn’t be able to sign with an NBA team until Zhejiang ends its season.

The risk is injury — something Smith had in his first game when he had a scare with his knee (that turned out not to be serious). All the NBA players in China are NBA free agents, so an injury could directly impact their ability to sign for big bucks when they come back to the NBA.

So they could do what Martin did — fly back to the United States and work out. Or they could keep playing and keep getting paid. And it sounds like that is what is going to happen.

China will vote to curb NBA influx by end of week

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
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Some of the biggest names in the NBA — Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and others — are looking hard at China. There are good reasons for this. First, there is good sponsorship money there (and companies like Nike might help pay to get stars in the world’s largest shoe market). Also, the league doesn’t start until November, so they can see how things stand with the lockout before deciding.

The only problem is China doesn’t want them.

We told you before that the Chinese Basketball League — which is essentially the Chinese government — was looking to ban opt-out contracts in hopes of stopping their league from becoming a “rent an NBA player” league.

They are going to meet on that later this week, according to niubball.com but the outcome is pretty much decided.

In truth though, there isn’t much doubt as to what the end result will be. Multiple Chinese sources who are connected to the CBA have told NiuBBall.com that the rule (to ban the opt-out clause) is a near certainty to be passed.

“It’s 99% happening,” said one source.

From an American perspective, this move makes no sense. Allowing NBA players to come in would boost the league’s profile, there is a lot of money to be made and they would get a chance to see the best players in the world up close. Why not do it?

Because the CBA has other motives, as to niubball.com explains.

But the logic behind this decision for the government-run CBA remains in line with an overall policy that has remained in place for years: Putting the interests of Chinese basketball, namely the success of the national team, above all other interests, even ahead of potentially lucrative commercial ones. In their eyes, allowing a group of megastars to come to China as a lockout refuge to make a quick buck only to leave in the middle of the year would hurt the long-term development of its players and put teams, who would find themselves suddenly without an import player mid-season, in a tough situation.

Some teams plan on ignoring the rules. Chinese teams traditionally have changed out foreign players a couple times a season, so the teams are looking to create handshake deals with players where they can just let the player go when the lockout ends. To counter this, a rule may be put in place limiting the two foreign players a team signs to playing five quarters a game.

Bottom line, we basically know what rules will be in place after the league meetings this week. What we don’t know is the real impact of them.

Chinese League may put in rules to limit NBA player influx

Carmelo Anthony Panda

Stephon Marbury may not think Carmelo Anthony can handle playing in China, but ‘Melo said he was thinking about it. A lot of NBA players have thrown out China as a possible destination if they decide to play overseas during the lockout.

Except, China may not want them.

According to the fantastic Chinese league blog niubball.com, the Chinese League may be putting in rules that would limit the influx of foreign players. Specifically NBA players.

Sina Sports, quoting an anonymous figure connected to the CBA, reported that the Chinese Basketball Association is planning to institute two special new rules for next season in response to the ever-growing list of NBA players who have declared interest towards playing in China: First, teams will not be allowed to include an out-clause into any contract with an active NBA player and second, that each team will be allowed to sign only one active NBA player.

Said the anonymous source, ”The CBA isn’t the NBA’s backyard. If we didn’t make a rule about players playing here temporarily, then they’d all just leave in the middle of the season. That would affect our season greatly.”

This could rule out NBA players under contract from playing in China all together. Basketball international governing body FIBA said it would approve NBA players going overseas during the lockout — giving them a letter of clearance — only if the contract had an “out clause” that allowed them to return to the NBA whenever the lockout ends. If China is not allowing players to opt out, guys like Anthony are off the table completely.

NBA players have liked China as an option during the lockout for a few reasons. One is global branding in the world’s largest market, another is that there is enough wealth there to pay players fairly well (not NBA money but good money). Also, the Chinese season starts later, allowing them to see what happens with the NBA lockout and the start of the season before having to commit.

Why would China then block the best players in the world? Remember we are talking about a pretty insular and protective country, and one trying to build up its own basketball program. We’ll let niubball.com take it from there.

The CBA’s reasoning behind such a rule serves as a stark reminder as to how the Chinese government views basketball within the national political framework. Whereas the NBA operates in the U.S. as an independent business, the CBA is run by the government and thus has an agenda based on other things than profitability. At the top of that agenda for the Chinese is the long-term development of basketball in China and the success of the Chinese national team. Having a national team that can compete against the best the world has to offer serves as a way for China to gain international glory while also boosting nationalism within its own borders….

So although welcoming an NBA superstar to China sounds good on the surface, both for NBA-crazed fans and teams’ bottom line, the impact on the long-term development of Chinese would be minimal at best. Investing lots of money in players just to see them pack up and leave would not help the CBA’s goals in any way.

While in China, ‘Melo and Chris Paul say they’d play there

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What else did you expect them to say?

Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have been good soldiers for the NBA players union, officially keeping the door open to them playing overseas if the lockout drags on. Leverage baby! Even though for CP3 he’d be risking injury while on the cusp of a huge free agent payday in the NBA. But sure he’ll play overseas.

Anthony and Paul are on a Nike/Jordan brand promotional tour in China. Of course, they were asked if they would play overseas during the lockout. Of course they said yes. Of course they were asked where they would like to play.

What do you think they answered? ESPN has the video, if you need to see it.

“I love it, man, there’s a lot of history here,” Anthony said. “The fans are great. So why not? Why not try it out?”

Paul later said “Same, no question.”

So to recap: While in China standing in front of Chinese fans and asked to make a completely non-binding comment on if they would play in China should they decide to play overseas during the lockout, both said “why not.”

Take that with all the seriousness they intended it.

Howard says there is a “huge possibility” he plays overseas

Orlando Magic v Phoenix Suns
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There is a lot of risk in Dwight Howard playing overseas during the lockout — he has two years, $37.5 million on his existing deal that can be wiped out if he gets injured. What’s more, he has said he is going to opt out of that last year, meaning he would be a free agent, getting a max deal (whatever that is in the new labor deal) from wherever he ends up. Get injured and he is not cashing in on that $70 million or more payday.

But none of that stopped Deron Williams, and Howard said it may not stop him either.

In an interview with the Associated Press Howard sounded serious about playing overseas during a lockout.

“I’m not at liberty to talk about it,” he said, “but there’s a huge possibility about me going to China or me going overseas to play basketball.”

“If I decide to go overseas, the main thing is for me to continue to get better, not to do the things that I normally do, but do better at the things I’m not good at,” Howard said. “So I can use that talent to go overseas, working on my skills and staying in great shape.”

I don’t think it makes any sense for Howard (or other name stars to go overseas), the risks are too great. Unless you don’t like money. And it doesn’t really help the Magic, who have enough problems.

But Howard didn’t just say he was open to the idea, he said it was probable. He may be the next big name to sign.