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Kenyon Martin agrees to buyout from Chinese team

Dec 21, 2011, 1:23 PM EDT

Kenyon Martin Getty Images

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.

But Kenyon Martin wanted out and found a way, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Here are his tweets.

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.

  1. sknut - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    I know guys wanna play but it seems they made bad decisions by not getting opt-outs. I know the lockout looked bleak but there was always a chance the lockout would end and now they have to wait to sign.

  2. jagwar73 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Hope my Magic can get one or two of these free agents.

  3. marcusfitzhugh - Dec 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Don’t these guys have agents? If so, shouldn’t their agents have ensured that they could get out of the overseas contracts if/when the more lucrative NBA contracts became available?

    The “best” deal you can get in to, is typically the one you can get out of. If you don’t believe me, just ask Kobe.

  4. dl3mk3 - Dec 21, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    I dont understand why they just wouldnt keep playing the the season out in china-save some $ and stay in shape since they cant play until the season is over anyway.

    • dl3mk3 - Dec 21, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      i understand the injury point, but i’m sure they have insurance.

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