The Chinese Basketball Association will vote this week on whether to block stars under NBA contract from signing with Chinese teams during the NBA lockout. NBA players have been flirting with the idea of signing contracts with teams abroad as NBA owners have locked them out, with little progress in view.
But the Chinese league isn't keen to the idea of renting players for an undetermined time period. FIBA, the international organization that governs global competition and sanctions all the major (and not-so-major leagues), has ruled that any contract signed by a player under NBA contract and a team in a FIBA-sanctioned league must include a provision that ends the contract and sends the player back to the NBA once the lockout ends. That has China bristling.
[T]he logic behind this decision for the government-run CBA remains in line with an overall policy that has remained in place for years: Putting the interests of Chinese basketball, namely the success of the national team, above all other interests, even ahead of potentially lucrative commercial ones. In their eyes, allowing a group of megastars to come to China as a lockout refuge to make a quick buck only to leave in the middle of the year would hurt the long-term development of its players and put teams, who would find themselves suddenly without an import player mid-season, in a tough situation.
Playing against better competition would surely do more for the development of Chinese players -- of which there are now one in the NBA, by the way -- than the expulsion of NBA players will. Besides, it's not as if American import retention rates in the CBA aren't already awful. Even without the lockout rule, a few Chinese teams will lose import players midseason. That's how it works in the minor leagues.