Many NBA players and teams are reluctant to travel 12 or 13 hours to Asia. When the Los Angeles Clippers played the Charlotte Hornets last year in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, L.A. head coach Doc Rivers said if given a choice he would rather keep his players at home. NBA teams have played regular-season games before in Asia. Between 1990 and 2003, there were 12 regular-season games in Japan, involving 10 teams. Many Chinese fans are upset about China not getting the same treatment, especially given the fact that the Chinese market has been bringing in massive revenue for the NBA. But, for now, they’ll have to keep waiting.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed optimism Sunday night before the 10th edition of the Global Games in China that a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association will be reached soon. “In terms of our present bargaining discussions with the players, I’d say they’re going very well and there’s been a great sense and spirit of cooperation across the table and desire to move forward,” Silver said at a press conference before the Houston Rockets played the New Orleans Pelicans at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association signed a 10-year agreement in 2011, but either side can opt out of the contract by Dec. 15. “I’m not going to put any more specific timetable on it than that,” Silver said, “but that we continue to meet. In fact, the head of the Players Association, Michele Roberts, was in Spain, where I just came from, where she was accompanying the Oklahoma City Thunder. We had an opportunity to speak there as well. So we continue to be engaged on a regular basis. I remain optimistic that we’re going to get something done relatively soon.”
The Rockets final practice in Shanghai on Saturday was followed by an NBA Cares Event with Special Olympians, an event that also brought former Rockets centers Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo together again. “I’m excited to come here to see Yao, the Rockets and many old friends,” Mutombo said. “Yao is my former teammate, one of my best friends. I had played for the Rockets for a couple of years and had many memories there. All of us are here, like family reunion.”