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.