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Report: Chinese team still trying to get Kobe… for exhibitions

Aug 22, 2011, 8:14 AM EDT

NBA basketball player Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles to fans upon his arrival at a stadium during his 2011 China Tour in Changsha Reuters

Kobe Bryant cannot play in a Chinese Basketball Association league game. Last week that league shut down what might have been an NBA influx ruling that only NBA free agents can be signed by Chinese teams. Players under contract — Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and others — cannot be signed even with an opt-out clause.

So, no Kobe in a league game in China.

But an exhibition game might be another matter. That is the report out of sina.com (via Hoopshype).

Chinese club Shanxi Zhongyu won’t give up even though the CBA banned players under contract to play in China. According to some sources, Shanxi is trying to invite Kobe to play with the team in some warm-up games or exhibition games before the CBA season starts. That’s not against the rule.

Take it with a few grains of salt, but this also might be something Kobe would do — it would raise is profile in China, sell some Nikes and he is not making a long-term commitment. If the NBA lockout drags on into late November and December don’t be shocked to see this happen.

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