August 05, 2011
Has Dwyane Wade(notes) been offered $2 million a month to play basketball in China? A Chinese paper says that he has. The team reportedly doing the offering says he hasn't, but for cash like this and in a lockout like that, it's hard to see Wade turning a team down.
With the NBA lockout now into its second month without much movement created in hopes of resolving it, players are inching closer and closer to losing that first paycheck of the season come the first of November. So it makes sense to try and suss out what few international deals are left. The problem is that most European teams within the European Union don't have much money to throw around. The only teams with any chance at approximating NBA money are in Turkey, because Turkey isn't in the EU -- they've already spent quite a bit on Deron Williams(notes), and are reportedly set to negotiate with Kobe Bryant(notes). Even with Turkey in the mix, though, there aren't many spots available.
Enter China, a basketball-mad country with a sound professional league. Also enter the Miami Herald's take on the situation, as Wade sees it:
The Chengdu Daily reported Wade has received the offer, but an official with the Guangsha team told Chinese website niubball.com that the report was not true. The team plays in Hangzhou, where Wade visited on a Nike tour last week.
Wade and his agent, Henry Thomas, have said Wade will consider overseas offers if the NBA lockout stretches into the season. "We are not there yet," Wade told China Daily, referring to overseas offers in general. "We are going to start working out. The time to consider that has not come."
There's one catch, though, and it's a pretty big one.
The Chinese Basketball Association doesn't want its teams hiring rental players that would opt out of their deals as soon as the NBA lockout ended, and they've moved to limit teams to just one NBA player per team. From NIUBball:
Earlier this afternoon, Sina Sports, quoting an anonymous figure connected to the CBA, reported that the Chinese Basketball Association is planning to institute two special new rules for next season in response to the ever-growing list of NBA players who have declared interest towards playing in China: First, teams will not be allowed to include an out-clause into any contract with an active NBA player and second, that each team will be allowed to sign only one active NBA player.
Said the anonymous source, "The CBA isn't the NBA's backyard. If we didn't make a rule about players playing here temporarily, then they'd all just leave in the middle of the season. That would affect our season greatly."
You can't blame 'em, there. CBA teams are already looking for ways around this, but when you factor in the lack of roster spots as it is, the hefty price tag (Dwyane Wade made over $14 million last year with the Heat, and he's due to make $15.6 million this "season") needed to bring a player over, and the general unease with an NBA player's permanence on these squads, and you can see that there are plenty of hurdles left to jump before a deal like the proposed Wade deal can go down.
One possible way around it, CBA-willing? Nike, desperate to sell shoes in the world's largest market, could see this as well worth a $2 million monthly investment, and cover Wade's salary. Dwyane just launched his own brand of Jordan Brand shoes, and he was recently in China trying to pump up his brand.
The story isn't over, despite the complications. And with nothing moving between the NBA and its players, it's not as if Dwyane won't have time to go over his options.