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Report: Chinese team considers releasing Kenyon Martin

Dec 19, 2011, 8:07 AM EDT

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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.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    “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?”

    Yes it does sound familiar…and again, in this case, the league would be 100% right to block the move. Both the players and teams knew in advance that the league would not allow the teams to release the NBA players when the lockout ended and they signed them anyway.

    Thanks for the great analogy Kurt!!!!

  2. goldenfate - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    wud be good news for the nuggets

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 19, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      Martin would be a free agent who could sign anywhere, although Denver could offer more money than any other likely contenders for his services.

  3. cornbreadbbqred - Dec 20, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Yeah, but would they be able to manufacture hitting a clutch free-throw and ship to to, uh, K-Mart? I doubt it!

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