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SBD/August 16, 2011/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
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," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of YAHOO SPORTS. Chinese officials "want to derail the prospect of rent-a-players for the lockout." That would leave a "far smaller pool of NBA free agents available to sign, and those players will have to commit to playing a full season in the Far East." The NBA has a "cozy relationship with China, a partnership worth a great deal of money for both sides." Privately, some agents and officials "wonder how much the NBA could be influencing China to steer clear of players under contract." With the European market "so lean, China offers NBA stars the best chance, the most leverage, to recoup a fraction of the money they’ll lose once the checks stop coming in November." Agents are "confused over how rigid the ruling could be, because some Chinese owners have privately insisted they could find ways to creatively structure contracts to get around it." Sources said that Shanxi has been the "most aggressive Chinese team in pursuing NBA talent ... and has made players offers of well over $1 million per month." Lakers G Kobe Bryant's "stature and popularity make him unique, and teams have shown a willingness to meet his demands to play in China." Nike also is "motivated to get him on the floor" because Bryant "pushes product in the Far East, perhaps unlike any of his peers" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/15).
Deal for Durant to play for Turkish team
could include merchandise revenue
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME? In Portland, Kerry Eggers wondered if NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter is "acting in the best interest of the majority of players, who can’t afford to lose a full season -- a major percentage of the average career." Several former players said that Hunter is "charismatic and knowledgeable." One said that he is "enough of a 'wild card' that he comes off as a bit scary to the league, a good thing for the players." But the owners "hold all the cards in this standoff," and the players "can't win." Eggers: "The losses will begin mounting. The owners have all the leverage. It may not seem like it through the dog days of August, but for the players, the clock is ticking" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 8/14).
Golf fans “better get used to -- and embrace -- the new guard” of the PGA Tour, possibly led by the likes of PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, who “insisted after his win Sunday he would not become one of those one-hit wonders,” according to Mark Cannizzaro of the N.Y. POST. Bradley’s playoff against Jason Dufner for the title “served significant notice of how great the game is even without the biggest stars shining.” Bradley's “electric comeback from five shots down in his final three holes over Dufner was a sign of the times -- a good sign.” With the “powerful combination of his ball striking and keen mental outlook,” the 25-year-old Bradley “figures to be a fixture for a while as a leader of the new guard.” Cannizzaro writes, “He is not alone.” Bradley: "The PGA Tour is so deep. The top players are not dominating like they were, which I think is great for the tour" (N.Y. POST, 8/16). In N.Y., Hank Gola writes Bradley “gave every indication that this will not be his one and only major victory.” Golfer Padraig Harrington said, "The United States has been looking for the next great player. He definitely has the game for it and hitting those shots that he needed down the stretch is going to give him a great deal of confidence" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/16). ESPN's Jim Rome said, “We’re all desperate to anoint the next big thing since the first big thing. ... And inevitably, we just keep slamming the crown on the dome on whoever wins the last big thing and in the end, most of these guys are more flavor-of-the-month than anything else. But I think Bradley is different” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 8/15).
EYE OF THE TIGER: A BOSTON GLOBE editorial is written under the header, “Keegan Bradley: Golf’s New Savior?” Bradley “will be more than a one-hit wonder.” Great golf "is out there, and soon enough a new star player will get Americans to tune back in" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/16). GOLF.com’s Cameron Morfit wondered if Bradley “will become golf’s next superstar.” Golf is “in between superstars because the moment we seem to have found a prime candidate,” like Rory McIlroy, he “goes back whence he came while yet another new guy, like Bradley, emerges seemingly fully formed.” Some would “still argue that McIlroy is the next" Tiger Woods, and “maybe he will be, but it's far from a foregone conclusion” (GOLF.com, 8/15). In L.A., Bill Plaschke noted the “four biggest tournaments had four different anonymous winners, none of which were named Woods.” Plaschke: “Isn’t golf going to hell in a head cover? Wrong. Golf grows. Golf wins. This transformation to younger, unaffected champions is the best thing to happen to golf since, well, Tiger Woods.” He added, “It’s fun to watch new faces. It's inspiring to feel a different energy.” (LATIMES.com, 8/15).
STARS NEEDED: Denver Post columnist Woody Paige asked, “Can you imagine how many people tuned in at mid-afternoon (on Sunday) and went, ‘Who are all those people? Let’s go to the water park?’” Paige: “Golf for the casual fan needs somebody who’s atop the mountain.” But ESPN's Michael Smith said, "The casual golf fan may have been saying, ‘Who are these guys?’ But if they watched those last three holes and the playoff, they got a heck of a introduction from Keegan Bradley." Smith: "I totally disagree that golf needs to have somebody to dominate” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 8/15). Santa Rosa Press Democrat columnist Lowell Cohn said the PGA Tour was "great for the sport when Tiger was dominating." Cohn: "He was the New York Yankees. There needs to be a standard like that in every sport, and I think golfers themselves would say it” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 8/15).
MR. POPULARITY: In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore notes Bradley after his win Sunday told radio host Dan Patrick that he wanted to “throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game,” and by lunch yesterday, PGA Tour officials “had nearly completed the arrangements for the baseball game.” Bradley “went from 3,000 to nearly 30,000 followers on Twitter,” and there were “more than 1,000 friend requests on Facebook” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/16).