The news that the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) will prevent NBA players under contract from playing in its league was not talked about much in sports business circles; however, it has a great impact on top tier NBA players and their agents.
Before the CBA locked these NBA players out of its league, superstars including Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony had stated that they would consider playing in China. With the opportunity to make $60,000 per month (and possibly more if limits had been waived as rumoured), it seemed like a good option for talented players who were locked out in the United States – especially because many teams supposedly did not adhere to the spending limits put in place by the league. Anyway, that option no longer exists.
Players with NBA experience who are currently free agents will be allowed to sign with CBA teams, though. These players will not be able to negotiate any opt-out clause into their CBA contracts. Such a clause would allow players to return to the United States and play in the NBA, should the NBA lockout end and a 2011-12 season commence.
In the past, the CBA’s 17 teams have been able to sign up to 2 players who do not have Chinese passports. The exception to that rule applied to the 4 teams who fared worst the prior season. Those teams could sign 3 foreign players, with the caveat that 1 of those players had to be Asian. Now add on the additional restriction – no NBA players currently under contract allowed. Case closed.
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