Archive for August 19th, 2011

Chinese Basketball Athlete with Official Uniform

This was widely reported as expected to happen, but now it appears the overlords of basketball in China have no interest in letting teams sign players with NBA contracts, only to see those players abandon their Chinese teams once the NBA lockout ends.

The Associated Press reports:

The Chinese Basketball Association will restrict contracted NBA players from playing for domestic teams in the event the season is canceled, but will still allow free agents, state media reported Friday.

The CBA would bar players under contract such as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. They and others had expressed interest in playing in China if the NBA lockout drags on and results in the cancellation of all or part of the 2011-12 season.

The CBA said it will welcome free agent NBA players, but will require them to play an entire season in China, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

This cuts off what was possibly going to be a huge destination for some pretty good NBA players in the event that the lockout was going to ruin a sizable chunk of next NBA season.

Chase Budinger #10

Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets has entered the men’s open division of the Corona Light Wide Open beach volleyball tournament to be played Saturday and Sunday.

The former Arizona star, who has played the last two seasons with the Rockets, will partner with former UC Santa Barbara all-star Dane Jensen. Budinger was a two-sport standout at La Costa Canyon High in San Diego County. He won the 2006 Mizuno National Player of the Year Award in volleyball and was named a McDonald’s All-American in basketball.

With NBA players locked out by owners, no one is sure if there will be a 2011-12 season.

“Volleyball has always been a passion of mine, and it has been great to get back out on the beach and train,” Budinger said in a statement. “I’m really excited about this opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing how my skills match up against some of the top players.”

– Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle blog

Former Oakland men’s basketball standout Keith Benson will be heading to the island of Sardinia to play professional basketball with Italian team Sassari, Oakland coach Greg Kampe said on Thursday. A second-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks, the 6-foot-11 Benson was the first Oakland player selected in the NBA draft.

“We’re delighted for Keith,” said Kampe. “I know he has worked hard in the past couple of months with our strength coach Todd Wohlfeil and he has his weight up to 233, with a goal of 240.”

– Tom Markowski of the Detroit News

Leandro Barbosa

Leandro Barbosa doesn’t feel like sitting around doing nothing if the NBA lockout extends into the basketball season.

The AP reports:

Toronto Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa has signed a deal to play in his native Brazil.

Barbosa signed with Rio de Janeiro-based club Flamengo. The deal includes a clause that would allow him to return to the NBA if the lockout ends.

A statement on Flamengo’s website says Barbosa signed Thursday. Details of the deal weren’t released.

Barbosa was the third leading scorer on the Raptors last season, averaging 13.3 points per game. The team had the third worst record in the league, finishing 22-60.

It’s likely that over the next couple weeks, plenty of other bench-level NBA players will take this route.

The Lakers were in a foul mood after getting eliminated from the playoffs in a shocking sweep by Dallas in May, but some players remembered to make financial considerations before scattering for the off-season.

Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team’s playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers’ video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season. Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers’ playoff bonus.

Bodaken started with the Lakers as a ball boy in 1986 and spent the last 10 seasons as their director of video services. O’Keefe was the Lakers’ video coordinator for six seasons. They both hope to be re-hired by the team when the NBA lockout ends. For now, they are thankful for Bryant’s financial gesture.

“He always looks out for people who are lower on the totem pole,” O’Keefe said.

Said Bodaken: “At the end of the day, he told us he was going to take care of us and he did, and that’s not how most people in the world operate. He not only talks the talk. He walks it.”

– Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

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