HoopsHype Wasserman Media Group rumors

June 28, 2011 Updates

Armed with its star-studded NBA client list, Wasserman Media Group is proposing a basketball exhibition tournament in China as the agency explores moneymaking options for its players should there be an extended lockout. In a “China Basketball Tour” proposal summary obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, a sister publication of Sporting News, Wasserman in April began floating a plan to bring 15 to 20 of its NBA clients to China for a two- or three-week tournament if there is a work stoppage. The agency represents 45 NBA players, including this past season’s Most Valuable Player, Derrick Rose. Sporting News

Wasserman initially targeted mid-July for the tour, but organizers now are looking at potential dates in late August or early September. Scheduling is tight, though, as FIBA’s men’s basketball Asian Games are set for late September in China, and the Chinese Basketball Association starts its season in mid-October. According to the summary, the proposed tournament aims to match NBA players represented by Wasserman with Chinese Basketball Association players to form at least four teams to play during the exhibition. Targeted locations for the tour include Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, but no deals have been signed with any facilities. Sporting News

A source said NBA players would not be restricted from playing elsewhere during a work stoppage, but there are major issues for organizers, such as securing player insurance, something that one sports marketing source doing business in China said could make any exhibition cost prohibitive. Sporting News

Despite the absence of hoop icon, Yao Ming, newly-appointed National Basketball Association (NBA) China's CEO, David Shoemaker, has faith in the sport's foundation here and has vowed to keep its momentum going. Houston Rockets' all-star center Yao, who triggered nationwide interests in the NBA since his debut in 2002, is battling a career-threatening ankle injury. His uncertain future and possible retirement would supposedly reduce the NBA's popularity in China. However, the new boss shrugged that scenario off and stressed the game's close bond with the nation. "I don't see (Yao's) uncertainty is having a negative impact. In fact, I think it has generated a whole lot of interest," said Shoemaker, who officially assumed the post on June 1, replacing Tim Chen. China Daily

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