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Chinese league moves to block NBA player influx

Aug 18, 2011, 11:15 AM EDT

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We’ve been telling you this was coming, and now it’s official.

The Chinese Basketball Association has blocked teams from signing any NBA player under contract from coming to the league, according to sports.163.com (via HoopsHype).

That means no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade, no Dirk Nowitzki.

Chinese league officials put together a list of 108 free agents from the NBA that teams can sign for a full season. Players not on that list cannot be signed.

Chinese teams had been operating with the assumption that the league would ban opt-out clauses for NBA players, then the teams would just reach a handshake agreement to drop a player when the lockout ended. By putting a list of available players together, the league may stop this.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to us — why ban a big name player that would win games, sell tickets and sell merchandise? But for the Chinese government (who really runs the league) the league is there to build up the Chinese national team. Renting NBA players does not further that goal, in fact it takes minutes away from some Chinese player. Also, they do not want the perception of being a league where NBA players go to vacation.

I’d like to think this will stop the rumors of “Player X is going to China,” but we all know better.

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