What Is The CBA?

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) was formed in 1995 and has changed several times until reaching its current format that was first introduced in the 2009-2010 season. The CBA is a seventeen-team league where every team plays each other home and away once over the course of a thirty-four game regular season which roughly runs from December to February.


Does The CBA Have Play Offs?

Yes. The top eight teams in the league go through to the CBA play-offs, where there will be quarter and semi finals before the remaining two sides slug it out in a best-of-seven final. According to their regular season records, the team that finished first plays the side who had the eighth best record, the second placed team faces off against the side that finished seventh, etc etc. In the event of two teams being tied for the same record, the points scored/points against from the head to head match-ups are used to decide who goes through.


Who are the big teams in the CBA?

Traditionally, Bayi Rockets were the basketball powerhouse in China but the dominant team in the league’s recent history has been the Guandong Tigers, who have been in every CBA final since the 2003/04 season and have won the whole thing six times in the last eight years. Xinjiang Tigers have also enjoyed a fine run of form in recent years and were Guangdong’s opponents in the CBA finals for the last three seasons.


How Many Overseas Players Are Allowed On Each Team?

Each team is allowed two overseas players (players from Hong Kong or Taiwan are counted as Chinese). The two foreign players are allowed to play a total of six quarters between the two of them. Teams that finished in the bottom five of the league in the previous CBA season are allowed an extra ‘Asian’ (ie. non-Chinese/non-North American) player who has no restrictions on how many quarters he can play. The only team that does not have any foreign players are Bayi Rockets, who are the “army’s team”, meaning that teams who play the Rockets can only play their overseas players for five quarters instead of six. Additionally, those teams with an ‘Asian’ player, cannot field him against Bayi.


How Are Chinese/Overseas Players Signed? Can Teams Trade Players?

All the signings take place in the preseason. After that, there is no player movement during the season unless a overseas player is cut and a replacement needs to be signed. Though there are trades, they take place in the offseason. It should probably be noted that once an overseas player is here, he can’t just leave and go somewhere else- he would need to be released and have his contract waived by his Chinese team for him to be eligible to play for any other team whilst the CBA is still going on. Finally, there is no salary cap so teams with deep pockets can try and sign two expensive overseas players should they so wish.


Is There A Draft?

Yes. At the beginning of every season, a team is allowed to “protect” ten of their domestic players. The rest are put in a draft pool. Then based on backwards order of finish, teams can draft the unprotected players. The catch is that the player can only play for that team for one season – it is essentially a one year loan. As such, most teams will put in the draft their young guys or guys unlikely to get playing time. That way, if another team picks a guy, then it’s a win for the current team because the other team is basically developing your player for you and he comes back at the end of the year.


Is There An All-Star Game?

Yes. It works like the NBA in terms of voting but both North and South teams are only allowed to field two imports.


How Do I find Out More About the CBA and Chinese Basketball?

Your first port of call as a native English speaker should be the excellent website, which covers the whole of the CBA in fairly broad detail. Beyond that, you should check out, which is an extension of the Euro-basket website and will have box scores and league information for all of the sides in the CBA. The Singaporean website, is also good at getting a wide grasp of Asian basketball in geneneral. The Sina Sports website is even more indepth than the previous websites mentioned but requires either a grasp of Chinese or a good translating program to find your way to the detailed advanced statistics and whatnot.


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