NBA Lockout: China Makes the Right Decision in Saying It Won’t Sign NBA Players

In the wake of the NBA lockout, New Jersey Nets superstar Deron Williams got it started, signing with the Besiktas team of Turkey. Other talented NBA starters like Nicolas Batum, Ty Lawson, Nenad Kristic and many other smaller names, have all signed in Europe. Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin are all considering it.

But one destination that some players had already started looking at pretty much closed off today. China's biggest league announced that it would not sign any NBA players signed to contracts, and while free agents from the NBA who are not signed to teams are welcome in China, any contract they sign with the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) would require them to play a full year.

It was a bold decision by China, and it’s obvious that, had the CBA allowed players, however temporarily, to sign with their teams, it would have bolstered their revenue. But this can be considered a decision of national pride more than anything.

The CBA, in ignoring NBA studs, shows they don’t feel they need for a brief sideshow to make them feel good about their league.

China’s decision may not be a gigantic deal to the players—after all, they’ll all find countries elsewhere who will pay them to play for them as long as the players want—but it doesn’t really help their cause.

The NBA Players Association certainly uses the worldly interest in their players' talents as leverage against the league, even while NBA commissioner David Stern claims players going overseas isn’t a “threat” in his mind.

But it does close off a route that many players had began to take seriously. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry said a month ago that China “looked promising." Memphis Grizzlies restricted free agent Shane Battier actually traveled to China in the beginning of August.

In addition, superstars like New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Orlando’s Dwight Howard have spoken openly about possibly playing in the world’s most populated country.

China and the NBA have had a growing relationship for years, blossomed by the emergence of Yao Ming as a talented NBA star and as an ambassador to the game. China and their CBA are likely trying to avoid any conflict with the NBA, and at the same time they are sticking up for their own talent.

Rather than paying high prices for NBA talents and basically letting them hang out for a few months until the end of the lockout, China is refusing to let their league be swept up in the phenomena of borrowed talent.

It shows that China doesn’t view their basketball as a sideshow, something that needs to be bolstered by temporary NBA Players. China’s decision enacts a certain pride in their own league, saying it needs no help from the NBA to feel legitimate.

Meanwhile, the Euro squads have no problem with signing players, even though they know the lockout makes the NBA players' stay only a temporary thing. The Euro teams are taking advantage of the players to bolster up their own leagues, a move China believes it doesn’t need to make.

China feels it shouldn’t need the players and doesn’t want to rock its relationship with the NBA. It was a bold decision that shows China’s belief in their own talent, and it was the right decision.