Posted by Royce Young
There are a lot of reasons a report that said that Kobe Bryant had signed with a Chinese professional team should be looked at with caution. First, because China has now passed a rule preventing NBA players from signing to play in China with an NBA out-out clause once the lockout is over.
Two, because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now. So with ESPN.com's report that Kobe has not in fact signed anywhere yet, it's pretty clear that everyone needs to pump the brakes on this one.
A source said, "Kobe has not agreed with any team on anything. He is conducting due diligence and weighing various options."
Kobe has a reported $1.5 million a month offer on the table from a Chinese team, which is a pretty hefty price. But nothing is moving towards a deal yet there. Kobe also has been in talks with Turkish team Besiktas, the club that signed Deron Williams. But the China option has always been a bit more intriguing for Bryant. Mainly because he's a rock star there as well as the fact that Nike has encouraged its clients to explore options there.
But again, no player -- at least star player -- is going to sign in China with the no opt-out rule. Kobe is certainly looking at the option but if China isn't going to allow NBA players to leave if the lockout is lifted, they might as well kiss the chance at Kobe goodbye. The dance though helps Kobe either way. His price tag is moving up with these reported Chinese offers and he still has options as to where he might go.