With the NBA lockout in full effect, the common theme within the basketball blogosphere has been how NBA fans will get their fix. While some blogs have toyed with the idea that the players could look to form their own league in the absence of the NBA, the current reports would suggest that a “China Basketball Tour” seem far more likely. Via the Los Angeles Times:
There are preliminary talks about a basketball tour to China this summer — and perhaps beyond — in which the Lakers superstar, who has called China a “home away from home” and has an enormous following there, would be the headliner with several other NBA stars forming two or three barnstorming teams.
Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka are trying to put together the tour, said Minnesota Timberwolves rookie forward Derrick Williams, who also is represented by Pelinka.”
The current info from NiuBBall.com, has the Wasserman Media Group, which represents 45 players including NBA MVP Derrick Rose, setting up a basketball tour in China “for a four-team, three city tour that would last in between two and three weeks.”
While China’s 300-400 million NBA fans would be a great source of revenue for the players during the lockout, the odds of a basketball “barnstorming tour” begin to dwindle once China’s governmental limitations are considered.
With potentially the biggest market in the world, China remains cautious at the idea of simply opening up the floodgates to foreign businesses who are solely concerned with their own profits. Thus, any ideas involving a “China Basketball Tour” or a “China Contingency League” must be viewed by the government as beneficial towards the development of Chinese basketball….
Thus, if the Chinese government doesn’t feel that an NBA exhibition tour will benefit the development of Chinese basketball — i.e. that it won’t bring China closer to their goal of an Olympic gold medal — then there simply won’t be an NBA exhibition tour – even if it features NBA MVP Derrick Rose.”
While still in the preliminary stages, a basketball tour of China seems unlikely without heavy involvement from the Chinese government. Instead of four teams of All-NBA talent, the infusion of Chinese players to help develop the national team is highly likely.