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.