The Chinese Basketball Association could rule to block all contracts with NBA players that include a lockout opt-out, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. China's Sina Sports first reported the potential rule over the weekend, and Stein said his sources confirm the potential for the rule.
China was seen as a top option for locked-out NBA stars looking to make money, expand their brand and put some pressure on NBA owners to compromise for a new collective bargaining agreement. Kobe Bryant is said to be considering several Chinese offers, ones that this new rule would thwart.
A few players, led by Deron Williams and Nicolas Batum, have signed contracts in Europe that will allow the players to return to the NBA if the lockout ends midseason. The Chinese rule would block those clauses from being inserted in contracts in the CBA.
Stein reports that the reason for the rule is that Chinese government officials are worried the CBA would become a circus with short-term rentals, no matter how popular the stars are. China would instead prefer to focus attention on the nation's homegrown stars in advance of the 2012 London Olympics.
Interestingly enough, retired NBA megalith Yao Ming owns a CBA team, the Shanghai Sharks.