NBL march into China seems to have stalled.
In recent conversations I have had with certain insiders it has become clear that the CBA is hesitant to get too involved with the NBL.
What I have heard has mirrored some of the things Boti mentions in his latest blog post, but the things I have to add is that the CBA is looking for a partner to help them improve in the admin, development and promotion side of the league. And let's face it, we've done most of those things poorly leading until now, and China knows it.
So rather than be in awe of our league and wanting to sign up to our NBL TV in droves, the CBA seems content to just send half-assed development teams to our shores and allow them to be completely outmatched by our teams. Stronger links with China than that may be a bit of a pipe dream.
The fact is, other than strong pre-season competition we have little to offer the Chinese. It is a lopsided deal whereby we leverage their country's love for the game by selling our product, and at best, they send some of their lowliest players to come here in low-paying development spots.
The league needs more tangible leverage if they're going to make this happen. We need a carrot of some sort. We simply aren't a necessity to China despite our ability to outplay them.
I also think it would be naive to think growing distrust between the two nations over the South China Sea would not have some impact on the NBL and CBA working relation, just quietly.
And if the NBL's China goals stumble, what does the NBL have as a back up plan? Have they put too many eggs in the China basket?
Has LK and the people at the NBL underestimated China and assumed that because our talent is superior that they will buy our product in droves?