The Chinese Basketball Association today announced a ban on signing players who are currently under contract with an NBA team. According to several Chinese sports websites, the CBA is opposed to players using their league as a temporary landing spot if the NBA lockout leads to the cancellation of games.
It was reported just before the announcement was made public that one of the CBA teams, Shanxi, had reached an agreement with Kobe Bryant for $1.2 million per month, with an out-clause to return to the NBA once the lockout ended. But ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Bryant had not reached an agreement with any team.
Carmelo Anthony, who recently toured China for Nike's Jordan Brand, along with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, said he would consider playing in China during the lockout. But that option is now no longer available. Amar'e Stoudemire is currently touring China for Nike Basketball.
Anthony has said he would also consider playing in Puerto Rico, but he would need to secure expensive insurance coverage to protect him and the three-year, $65 million contract extension he signed in February. Stoudemire has flirted with the idea of playing overseas, but it is also unlikely that he would find the insurance necessary to protect the remaining four years and $80 million on his contract with the Knicks.
Though there is still option to sign elsewhere in the world, the decision by the CBA 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. 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.
There have been a few players who have reached deals to play overseas (as we reported on Tuesday, Knicks guard and NBPA VP Roger Mason Jr. is negotiating a deal with a team in Israel), but so far the only all-star caliber player is Deron Williams, who signed with a team in Turkey for reportedly between $200,000 to $350,000 per month.