China Bans Contracted NBA Players Joining League, Xinhua Says

Players under contract with National Basketball Association teams won’t be allowed to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, while free agents may only join the Chinese league if they commit to a full season, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“We welcome free-agent players of the NBA to play at least a full season in the CBA,” said Bai Xilin, director of the CBA league office, according to Xinhua.

With the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association entering the 50th day of a lockout, players like New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, have chosen to play abroad in countries such as Turkey and Israel until the labor dispute is resolved, agreeing to contracts that allow their return to the NBA when the lockout ends.

The International Basketball Federation, known as FIBA, of which the NBA and CBA are members, said last month that the NBA won’t object to any players signing with affiliated leagues upon the stipulation that they return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends.

The CBA ruling bans players such as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who had considered joining Shanxi Zhongyu, and other NBA players under contract from playing in China.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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