Dec 19, 2011, 8:07 AM EDT
Turnover in the Chinese Basketball Association is common — especially with American players — but it hasn’t been that way with the NBA players inked to play there during the NBA lockout.
At least not yet. That could be changing, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports.
The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China are giving strong consideration to releasing star forward Kenyon Martin, according to sources close to the situation.…
Sources told ESPN.com that only the threat of serious sanctions from Chinese league officials for releasing a player of Martin’s stature in-season, including the potential forfeiture of games, has stopped Xinjiang from making the move already.
Remember that the Chinese league did not want a “rent a player” situation so they only allowed teams to sign NBA free agents and said they had to keep them the entire season. Many observers expected there where handshake deals between the players and teams that when the lockout ended the players would be released.
But as of now, no signed NBA players have been let go by teams.
Xinjiang is off to a slow start and is paying big money to K-Mart, so they want to shake things up. This is a move they would make for “basketball reasons” but the league may step in to block it. Sound familiar?
If K-Mart is released it could open the door for other NBA players in China — J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks — to get released as well. This would be a test case.