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China says no to Kobe, other NBA players under contract: Fan reaction
China could be a promising destination for the NBA's elite.
Unfortunately, most of the league's top players will not be able to play there, according to the Chinese Basketball Association. As reported by ESPN.com, NBA players under contract will be barred from playing in the CBA. This means that the speculation of Kobe Bryant(notes) going to play in China can officially be put to rest.
China was an attractive destination for the superstars of the NBA due to the possibility of expanding their brand in a populous, relatively new market. Now, they must look elsewhere to accomplish this. Europe should now become the focal point of many players looking to play as this lockout invariably continues.
Free agents would be allowed to play in the CBA should they choose, but they must play an entire season if they sign with a domestic Chinese team.
What does this move imply? It could display some solidarity between the NBA and CBA, who undoubtedly have become closer in the wake of seeing notable Chinese players come and showcase their talents in the NBA. It could also show that China does not consider its league to be a farm system to the NBA, where players can simply tune up for the big show and then bolt when the time comes to play once again.
Other leagues around the world may follow suit, but it will take quite some time for this development to have any real effect on the ability of the NBA's work stoppage to affect the employ-ability of its players outside of North America.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and follows the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a southern California native. He has over 20 years of formal experience in the game.
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