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.