Agents Plotting Chinese Barnstorming Tours During NBA Lockout

Kobe Bryant's agent Rob Pelinka and superagent Arn Tellem are plotting separate Chinese barnstorming tours should the NBA lockout persist.

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Kobe Bryant 'Open To Considering Overseas Offers,' According To Report

Kobe Bryant would be open to playing overseas during the NBA Lockout, according to a source speaking with Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski.


Certainly, we can have a little fun trying to define exactly what a "source familiar with thinking" means (friend? Mom? Telepathic?).

The idea doesn't sound quite as crazy today as it did a few days ago. NBA star Deron Williams is on his way to Turkey and that team has expressed interest in bringing Kobe over as well. It might be a publicity stunt but Kobe did spend time in Italy as a child. And then there's that whole Chinese Barnstorming Tour idea being floating around.

Bryant is a Mercedes-Benz endorser and the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai sounds like a pretty nice place to play some basketball and grow your marketing brand. Two things Kobe loves doing.

For the latest on Bryant and the Lakers, head over to Silver Screen and Roll.


NBA Superagent Arn Tellem Also Plotting China Exhibition Tour During Lockout

Kobe Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka were the first to draw headlines for nascent plans to hold a barnstorming tour in China during the NBA lockout as a way to make a little money and keep up appearances, but they aren't the only ones plotting such events. SportsBusiness Journal acquired a report from Wasserman Media Group, whose lead NBA player agent Arn Tellem represents players like Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Tyreke Evans and Russell Westbrook, indicating that the agency is planning a Chinese exhibition tour also involving players from the Chinese Basketball Association, tentatively scheduled for August.

August would seem to be the sweet spot for any such tour, as FIBA competitions (Eurobasket 2011 in Lithuania, FIBA Americas, Asian Games) are clustered in September and domestic leagues including the CBA begin in October. But that could be too soon if players and their agents are hesitant to risk their NBA contracts for an exhibition tour.

While Pelinka's reported tour has the biggest name in China outside of Yao Ming in Kobe Bryant, Tellem has a huge stable of young, exciting players. A big draw to this type of tour for NBA players is the marketing opportunity in China. Kobe has long embraced and fanned his popularity in the Far East, and players like LeBron James have actively sought audiences there in recent offseasons.


Amar'e Stoudemire Could Join Kobe Bryant In China On NBA Lockout Barnstorming Tour

Amar'e Stoudemire has suffered a few untimely injuries in his NBA career so far. That doesn't mean the New York Knicks big man is planning to take it easy, however, while waiting for the NBA lockout to end.

Stoudemire is said to be thinking about joining fellow NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant on a barnstorming tour of China, according to the New York Daily News, if he is able to find a company willing to insure his NBA contract in case of injury overseas.

That insurance policy would probably be rather large, too, considering the Knicks signed Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million contract extension last summer.

The last time we watched Stoudemire play basketball was in the first round of the NBA Playoffs where he was limited due to back spasms during the four-game sweep courtesy of the Boston Celtics.Apparently that injury is still lingering, or at least was still a problem just a couple of weeks ago.

"It's still tight," Stoudemire told the Daily News on June 15. "It's still pretty tight. It was pretty serious. It's a muscle that takes a while to heal."

That said, it's a bit surprising that Stoudemire is looking to get back on the basketball court as the Knicks probably would prefer he stay at home and rest rather than play exhibition games. The team doesn't really have a say in the matter, however, as the lockout prevents teams from contacting players.


Kobe Bryant May Play In China If NBA Lockout Persists

One day into the lockout and Kobe Bryant has already figured out how to steal the headlines. First it was the news Bryant is undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy and now it's news Bryant has a brilliant idea for how to spend his time during the NBA lockout. Kobe may be heading to China next for an exhibition series featuring NBA players locked out of their day jobs.

It's a smart move for Bryant, who can continue to expand his own brand into China, an area professional sports has turned a keen-eye toward recently. Leveraging the list of clients his agent, Rob Pelinka, boasts, Bryant could, conceivably, put together multiple teams of players for a series of games in Shanghai, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

If the barnstorming tour happens, the games are likely to take place at the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. Bryant signed a three-year deal with Mercedes-Benz in February to become the brand ambassador for Smart micro cars in China and he has already been featured in a TV commercial for the car.

Injury concerns aside, a China tour keeps Bryant and the players that may join him in shape and busy, all while bringing the NBA to China. It's beneficial to Bryant and a subtle dig at the NBA during what promises to be a contentious work stoppage.

For the latest on Bryant and the Lakers, head over to Silver Screen and Roll.

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