NBA Saturday: China Interest Isn’t Mutual
The Chinese Basketball Association isn’t interested in renting NBA players for the next several months. Not only will the league prohibit NBA opt-out clauses in contracts, the 17 teams won’t be able to sign players who are currently under contract in the NBA.
That’s bad news for players like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Stephen Curry, Jared Dudley, Dorrell Wright and Luis Scola, who all expressed significant interest in China prior to the ruling.
Now, only free agents and rookies will be able to sign with CBA teams. That means free agents such as Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier, who have flirted with the idea of playing in China, will still be able to sign in East Asia. Rookies like Enes Kanter, who received offers from two Chinese teams, are eligible as well because the lockout began before draft picks were able to sign contracts.
But if players sign in China, they will have to spend the entire season with their new team, even if a collective bargaining agreement is ratified in time to save the NBA season.
The CBA didn’t want NBA players returning to the United States as soon as the lockout was over because it would have left their rosters depleted. While the rule protects China from midseason departures, it will likely scare off many of the eligible players who were at one time considering joining a CBA team.
“It would have been fun to play in China, but I’m not going to choose that experience over playing in the NBA,” said one free agent. “It would’ve been nice to go there until the lockout was over, but it didn’t work out.”
However, not all players are against the idea of committing for one full season. Earl Clark was an unrestricted free agent, but decided to sign with the Zhejiang Lions last week and will stay there for the duration of the season.
However, that doesn’t mean Clark won’t end up on an NBA roster during the 2011-12 season.
Because the CBA’s regular season ends in March and the postseason wraps up in April, free agents and rookies who decide to sign in China could still return to the NBA as soon as their season ends. If a player’s team fails to make the playoffs, they could return for the final month of the NBA season. Even if their team makes a deep run in the postseason, the player could still return to the United States in time to join an NBA team’s playoff roster.
While this factor could help China land another fringe player or two, the players most negatively impacted by this ruling are the superstars who had been negotiating with Chinese teams.
Take Bryant, for example, who had one CBA team offering him $1.2 million per month as well as housing for 30 of his family and friends. That’s about as lucrative an offer as a player can get overseas, and he’ll have trouble finding a similar deal elsewhere.
In recent weeks, the predominant storyline in the basketball world had been that many superstars were interested in playing for a team in China. That may have been the case, but it turns out the interest wasn’t mutual. It’s time to get Beşiktaş back on the phone.
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Drew League vs. Goodman League: The highly anticipated showdown between the Drew League and Goodman League is only hours away. This will be the first time that basketball-deprived fans will be able to see a court full of NBA players since the lockout commenced last month. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this game in recent weeks, mainly because of the big names that will be suiting up.
While individual match-ups are fun to break down in the NBA, they rarely live up to the hype thanks to zone defenses and defensive specialists. It’s not very often that superstars guard each other for the duration of a game. That’s what makes summer league action so fun. With less structure, the games are usually decided based on who’s better in one-on-one scenarios and, because of this, the match-ups can become heated.
This summer, we’ve already witnessed several intense pro-am battles. Brandon Jennings and Josh Selby went at it in Baltimore and things appeared to get personal. Kobe Bryant and James Harden traded baskets and put on a show for the fans in Los Angeles. John Wall and Julius Hodge went back and forth, scoring and mocking one another, in North Carolina.
Those showdowns were entertaining, but today’s game has the potential to feature some of the best individual match-ups of the summer. The final rosters are expected to look like this:
The Drew League will be represented by Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan, Derrick Williams, JaVale McGee, James Harden, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Marcus Williams and Bobby Brown.
The Goodman League will be represented by Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, Gary Neal, Sam Young, Josh Selby and Donte Greene.
Will Jennings go head-to-head against Wall, Evans or Selby? Can DeRozan, Williams or Harden slow down Durant? Who wins the center match-up, McGee or Cousins?
These are the players that have been giving fans their fix of basketball for the past month and they shouldn’t disappoint on this summer’s biggest stage. The game will be hosted by former NBA player Marques Johnson and streamed online exclusively on The Basketball Channel for $9.99.
NBA 2K12 Announces Legends: Last year, NBA 2K11 allowed gamers to play with Michael Jordan. You could play through his greatest moments and dominate your friends because Jordan was basically unstoppable.
Jordan’s inclusion in the game was so popular that 2K Sports has decided to include 15 NBA legends in NBA 2K12. The games will be incredibly accurate, with the footage and rules changing depending on the era that the legend is from. The game will allow you to play in black and white and without a three-point line if you’re using the oldest players.
“Our goal was to pick the 15 greatest and most influential players in NBA history and represent them in our game,” producer Erick Boenisch told ESPN. “We have some strong-headed people on our team and there was a lot of arguing over why this guy is there while this guy isn’t. And this is something we expect the fans to do as well. It’s not a cut and dry list. It’s subjective, it’s opinionated, but as the developer of the game, we felt like we put together the strongest list we could. We’re all huge basketball heads here, and we want our fans to experience these classic teams and learn more about the great history of the NBA.”
The 15 players included in the game will be Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas and Jerry West.
Gamers loved being able to recreate the high points of Jordan’s career, and now they’ll be able to do the same with the other 14 legends. You’ll be faced with challenges such as scoring 100 points with Wilt Chamberlain, throwing down Dr. J’s signature dunks and recording a triple-double with Oscar Robertson.
The lockout may keep fans from watching basketball come October, but NBA 2K12 might be able to keep you busy in the meantime.