NBA Lockout Watch, Day 50: Chinese B'Ball Association Announces Restrictions On NBAers
The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) on Friday announced that it will restrict NBA players "to play in its domestic league" this season, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 20, according to XINHUA. CBA League Office Dir Bai Xilin said that NBA players under contract "would not be allowed to join in CBA clubs for next season." However, he said, "We welcome free-agent players of the NBA to play at least a full season in the CBA." The league will "adjust the form of contracts between the clubs and the players to prevent foreign players from leaving early during the season with excuses like fake injuries or family problems." More restrictions "will be followed before the start" of the season (XINHUA, 8/19). On Long Island, Alan Hahn cites Chinese sports sources as saying that the CBA "is opposed to players using their league as a temporary landing spot if the NBA lockout leads to the cancellation of games." The CBA's decision is "considered a significant blow to NBA players, especially stars, who were looking to play overseas (and recoup some potential losses in salary) during the lockout." Hahn notes while players still have the "option to sign elsewhere in the world," China is the NBA's "strongest international market and there was a great financial opportunity there if the CBA had allowed teams to sign players with NBA out-clauses" (NEWSDAY, 8/19). CBSSPORTS.com's Matt Moore noted the CBA's decision "closes off one of the most attractive options" and "hurts the players' efforts to provide leverage" in collective bargaining negotiations by signing overseas. Not only is China "like no other country on Earth, but the marketing potential is through the roof due to the companies and population." With recently retired NBAer Yao Ming "out of the picture, China represents a wide-open market" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/18).
MAYBE IT'S BETTER THIS WAY: The Georgetown men's basketball team and a Chinese pro team got into a brawl during an exhibition game Thursday as part of a goodwill trip organized by Nike. L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, “It really makes you wonder now about the future of basketball in China now as far as the Americans are concerned. A lot of NBA players talked about playing in China because it worked for (former NBAer Stephon) Marbury. I think a lot of them are going to see this and say, ‘You know what? I’m not going over there now’” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 8/18). Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears wrote on his Twitter feed, “After seeing G'Town brawl with lack of security, China players hurling chairs & fans tossing objects, NBAers should think twice about China” (TWITTER.com, 8/18).
WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED: USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt notes in a "normal year, through an agreement between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation, insurance is provided at an affordable cost for national teams participating in summer events." But because of the lockout, NBA player contracts "are suspended and the same insurance is not available." As a result, it has "become expensive for national teams to insure NBA players for important 2012 Olympic qualifying tournaments this summer." Great Britain Basketball Performance Dir Chris Spice said that it would "cost nearly $140,000 to insure" Pistons G Ben Gordon to play with its national team, "almost triple the cost of what it would be in a non-lockout year." Zillgett notes Suns C Marcin Gortat "will not play for Poland in Eurobasket, but not because Poland was unwilling to spend the money to insure his NBA contract." Poland and Gortat "could not find a provider to cover it" (USA TODAY, 8/19).
MONEY TALKS: In Australia, Mark Hayes notes Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan "insists" small-market teams "will never be able to compete while the system allows clubs such as the Miami Heat to effectively pounce on free agents with blank cheques." Jordan said, "The model we've been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, (so) I think that we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign." He added, "I can't say so much ... but I know the owners are not going to move off what we feel is necessary for us to get a deal in place where we can co-exist as partners. We need a lot of financial support throughout the league as well as revenue sharing to keep this business afloat." Jordan also indicated that small-market teams would "benefit greatly from a 'hard' salary cap" (Melbourne HERALD SUN, 8/19).