Dec 21, 2011, 1:23 PM EDT
Kenyon Martin has found his way out of China back to the NBA — but he can’t sign with an NBA team until his Chinese team’s season is over. Which could be March (at the earliest late February).
The question is will J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler follow suit?
Those three — all free agents and all Denver Nuggets at the end of last season — sign deals to play the full season in China. (Aaron Brooks is in the same boat, except for the Denver part.)There were no NBA opt-outs for when the lockout ended, on the orders of the Chinese Basketball Association (read: Chinese government) players had to stay the full season. There would be no rent-a-player in China.
Kenyon Martin has agreed to a contract buyout with Xinjiang of the China Basketball Association, sources tell Y! Sports…. Martin is an unrestricted free agent and can sign anywhere in the NBA come the end of Xinjiang’s CBA season…. Martin’s buyout will set the precedent for JR Smith, Wilson Chandler, Aaron Brooks in China: None will play in NBA until CBA season is over.
Martin had a record (for that league) $3 million deal but was far from dominant, averaging just 14 points a game (in a league well below the NBA level, particularly with big men). Both sides wanted out.
For Smith and Chandler, is it worth the buyout to avoid the injury risk so they can sign a big deal (or as big as they can get that late) in the NBA?
When they become free agents a lot of contenders and potential contenders will be interested, but other teams farther down the ladder and under the salary cap will be able to offer more money. It will be an interesting bidding process.