Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Chinese Basketball Association will restrict contracted NBA players from playing for domestic teams in the event the season is canceled, but will still allow free agents, state media reported Friday.
The CBA would bar players under contract such as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. They and others had expressed interest in playing in China if the NBA lockout drags on and results in the cancellation of all or part of the 2011-12 season.
The CBA said it will welcome free agent NBA players, but will require them to play an entire season in China, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
So if Chinese teams play by the rules (I'll give you a moment to stop laughing) then only current NBA free agents will be welcomed and they won't be able to leave once the lockout ends.
And since KG is neither a free agent nor, presumably, is he willing to ditch the Celtics and play out his China (unless he wants to reunite with Stephon Marbury THAT badly) then that ends that story.
I wonder, though, if Stern Almighty had a hand in this. China is a basketball mad country. Teams would cash in if they got even a month's worth of Kobe, KG, Kevin Durant or any other star player. The million dollars a month or more would be a drop in the bucket when you think of how much these teams would make.
But the NBA's best and brightest playing for HUGE money overseas would not be good for business. Not only could players make plenty of cash while owners made none, the NBPA could sit there and use those salaries in negotiations. Why wouldn't Billy Hunter bring up that Kobe's been offered $1.5 million a month to play in China. That's an $18 million a year salary when the NBA is trying to cap deals at almost half that. How can the NBA justify a system that pays players so much less than what they're worth? You could even use the "slippery slope" argument and say "hey, if you create a system where your stars can't make more than $10 million, then how long will it be before one of your stars takes that $18 million offer and decides to play in China full time in his prime years?"
It's almost like playing defense attorney in front of a jury. You don't have to prove your client is innocent. All you have to prove is reasonable doubt. And Billy Hunter doesn't have to prove players chasing Yuans is imminent. He just has to prove that possible.
Does this sound like a conspiracy theory? Absolutely. But I find it plausible. Stern and the sneaker companies want to continue to business in China, so they convince their basketball honchos to get this little rule passed and guarantee some easier NBA cooperation down the line. Now Stern and the owners get to dismiss the reports of gigantic offers to play in China as BS rumors without the fear that they'll ever come to fruition.
Works for me.
The rest of the links: