China to ban contracted NBA players from playing

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BEIJING (AP) — State media says the Chinese Basketball Association will restrict contracted NBA players from playing for domestic teams in the event the American season is canceled.

The announcement Friday will bar players under contract such as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. They and others had expressed interest in playing in China if the NBA’s labor dispute drags on and results in the cancellation of all or part of the 2011-12 season.

The CBA said Friday it will still welcome free agent NBA players in the CBA, but will require them to play an entire season in China, the Xinhua News Agency reported. CBA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.