但是在周四，这些传闻可能就会不攻自破。当天，中国篮协（the Chinese Basketball Association）的上级部门可能将宣布禁止中国球队与NBA球员签订跳出合同条款——该条款允许这些球员在NBA停摆结束时马上离开中国。
For weeks it was all NBA fans heard: Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul are all headed for China, lured by lucrative contracts, cushy accommodations, and an untapped, outrageously accessible Chinese apparel market.
But on Thursday, the rumors are expected to meet a swift death. That's the day governing bodies of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) will likely decide to bar Chinese teams from granting opt-out contract clauses to NBA players -- ejector seats that would allow players to leave China on a moment's notice if the NBA lockout were to be lifted.
If that happens, don't expect players to be in any hurry to sign papers. Yes, these guys want to play basketball, and they're willing to go to China to do it, but not if it means they might end up missing out when the season back in the States gets a last-minute rescue.
For a few weeks there, it seemed as if NBA icons would have a huge opportunity to export their star-power eastward, a la Stephon Marbury, and that many pockets would fatten from the influx. But now, if it doesn't happen, who will miss out on the potential benefits, and how much will they lose?
For one, the players were promised million-dollar-per-month contracts with navigable out-clauses if the NBA lockout were to end, and more importantly, the opportunity to build their brand in a country of nearly 1.3 billion people, 330 million of whom play basketball. NBA superstar Dwayne Wade was linked to a $2 million-per-month deal with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the CBA, and Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony were similarly enticed by the opportunity to "double dip" in China.
"They'd be able to cut across many brands in China, not just sports brands," says Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights, a firm that uses social data to uncover trends that increase marketing and advertising opportunities. "They'd be able to double dip in China where brands have huge opportunities and where they have the whole retail sector in front of them."