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Jeremy Lin nearly signed with Italian team during lockout

The wild story of Jeremy Lin’s improbable rise to success has taken another turn. Following the Knicks’ win over the Cavs Wednesday, the point guard revealed that he was close to signing with an Italian team during the NBA lockout.

“I booked a flight to go back to California to get my visa done and everything so I could go to Italy,” Lin said.

Lin says Italian team Teramo Basket offered him a deal but rescinded it before he could accept.

“I found out that they offered it to (Charles Jenkins) so I was like, ‘OK, no Italy.’ And the lockout ended a couple days later, so it was perfect,” Lin explained.

Lin says he was “extremely close” to playing for the team while his agent reminds us that the contract would have included an out clause for when the lockout ended.

Roger Montgomery, Lin’s agent, said at the time “Jeremy is a young player who needs to play.”

Thanks to a guy who averaged 2.4 points per game last season for the Warriors, the Knick’ savior stayed in the U.S., ensuring he’d be able to play in the NBA this season.

NBA Players Who Signed with Chinese Teams Could Be Stuck There Until March

The NBA and NBA Players Association may have finally reached a labor agreement over the weekend, but that does not mean all players will be eligible to return to action on Christmas Day.  Remember a few months ago when it was made perfectly clear that the Chinese Basketball Association was only open to signing NBA free agents, not players under contract with NBA teams?  And remember how they said that any player who signed with a Chinese team would be obligated to finish out their contract and play overseas until the season concluded in March?  Now that a scheduled start date has been announced for the 2011-2012 NBA season, those stipulations have become a reality.

As Adrian Wojnarowski reminded us on Monday, players like J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, and Aaron Brooks who chose to sign with CBA teams during the lockout will remain obligated to fulfill their contracts before returning to America.

“They can play, get paid [in China] and return to the NBA in March,” one Chinese team official told Yahoo Sports!. “Or they can not get paid, and return to the NBA in March.”

“If they think that they’re going to make things difficult, not play, create problems, what’s going to happen is that the teams will not release their letters of clearance they’ll need to sign in the NBA,” another CBA official added. “There’s no way out.”

While this is troubling for the players and likely annoying that they can’t pursue a free agent contract with an NBA team over the next month, it was a risk they were willing to accept.  Rather than get a job coaching at the college level or playing pickup games at a prison, a handful of players chose to play in an actual organized league and make money doing so.  Unless the Chinese teams for some reason decide to be super generous and release them from their contracts, we’ll see the aforementioned players and a few others in March.

NBA Lockout Finally Over, Season to Begin on Christmas Day

After months of unsuccessful negotiations and several games lost, the NBA lockout has finally ended. The players and owners met for over 15 hours Friday and news was announced early Saturday morning that the sides had reached a tentative deal on a labor agreement. Details need to be worked out, but the sides decided they want to make sure basketball is played this year.

The plan is for training camps and free agency to begin on December 9th and the season to start on Christmas. The season would be 66 games. The three games scheduled for December 25th are:

    Celtics @ Knicks – 12pm ET
    Heat @ Mavericks – 2:30pm ET
    Bulls @ Lakers – 5:00pm ET

This is fantastic news and we’re excited to have basketball back. Frankly, I was worried that the basketball season would be canceled. I figured at best, we would have a shortened season beginning in January. Looks like the sides have topped that projection.

We’re thrilled to have the NBA back because we were getting sick of writing stories about players taking college coaching jobs and internships, and talking about playing overseas. Maybe now Andy Rautins can afford to rent his own place, and Tony Allen can afford something more than Ramen noodles. Most of all, we’re just happy for all the escorts who will finally have a gig back.

Byron Mullens Stays Sharp During Lockout by Playing Basketball at Prison

Thanksgiving has passed and there is still no NBA season, which means professional basketball players are in search of ways to keep their skills sharp.  Some have turned to less-productive methods like dunking on 25-foot hoops while others have officially begun weighing their options for playing overseas.  Oklahoma City Thunder center Byron Mullens has one of the more unique practice routines you will hear about.  Actually, it’s the setting — at Ross Correctional Institute in Ohio — that makes it unusual.

Mullens grew up in Ohio and was the product of a tough upbringing.  He had his own apartment by the time he was in high school and had to work two jobs and go to school in order to get by.  Rather than playing basketball at nearby public courts while he was in school, Mullens and his friend used to go to the local juvenile detention center and play pickup games with troubled teens.  Now, he plays against prison inmates at Ross.

The 7-foot Mullens said the prisoners bring an “under-the-radar” level of competition and, despite their constant shouting at him to dunk the ball, he uses the games as an opportunity to work on his perimeter game.  The prisoners have yet to defeat Mullens in a game, but 31-year-old inmate Ryan Janes seems to embrace the challenge.

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If David Stern Rapped About the Lockout, it Would Sound Like This (Video)

This comes from the folks at The Rise Guys on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and it’s hilarious. If NBA commissioner David Stern rapped to an Akon song, it would sound exactly like this:

Priceless. Well done fellas, well done.

New York Escort Service Owner Says Lockout Has Hurt Business

Sports lockouts hurt business.  That is merely common sense.  Given all the NBA games that have already been cancelled due to the current lockout, businesses are suffering.  Some of the most obvious that come to mind are hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in the area of NBA venues.  The lack of games is also hurting sports writers, radio shows, online apparel stores, and a number of other businesses and groups of people that we may not think of right away.  Heck, even escort services are taking a hit.

A CNBC report that was published on Monday detailed some of the struggles that small businesses have faced because of the cancellation of NBA games.  Perhaps the most interesting of the bunch is a New York escort service.  A man named Henry (do we need to explain why he only provided one name?) who runs the service said business is down 30 percent.  Henry said he charges between $400 and $4,000 an hour, depending on the woman, and that not having players and other high-profile fans in the area on a regular basis has hurt business.

“There are replacements but they aren’t as consistent and not nearly as high paying,” Henry explained.

Everyone’s gotta eat, you know what I mean?  Bart Scott says there are plenty of strippers to go around in New York and guys like Dennis Rodman stop by to live it up from time to time, but it’s all about consistency.  We have people living with their parents and prostitutes who need to make a living.  It’s time for the madness to stop.

Chest bump to I Am a GM for passing the report along.

Boredom 101: Rudy Gay Dunks on 25-Foot Hoop During Lockout (Video)

Impatience, frustration and selfishness are a few of the many words that come to mind when basketball fans think about the NBA lockout.  Another crucial one: boredom. With games cancelled through the middle of December, it is looking more like a genuine possibility that we won’t have NBA basketball this season.  Superstars like Kevin Durant have reached the point where it is time to entertain the thought of playing in Europe, while others like LeBron have resorted to dunking on little kids.  Others like Rudy Gay are making their owners cringe.  No, not by saying the wrong things or threatening to play overseas — by jumping off a ledge and dunking on 25-foot hoop.  Check out this video from TMZ that I Am a GM shared with us:

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