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Wilson Chandler may opt out of China playoffs, return to NBA

Feb 17, 2012, 9:16 AM EDT

Wilson Chandler, Kobe Bryant AP

The reports had been that NBA players who signed to play a full season in China were going to be stuck there until their team was out of the playoffs.

Wilson Chandler’s team, the Zhejiang Lions, is the seven seed (and would face Stephon Marbury’s team in the first round) but instead they may just let Chandler go to return to the Denver Nuggets and the NBA.

That’s the report, out of China Daily (via, which breaks down the story well):

After the Zhejiang Lions finished the regular season with a victory over the Beijing Ducks on Wednesday night, Chinese media began reporting the former Denver Nugget had decided to opt out of the remainder of his contract with the Lions and would return the US before the NBA trading deadline on March 1. (Ed. Note: the deadline is actually March 15)….

The answer from Chandler’s Chinese agent, Zhao Gang, was far more solid.

“No, he won’t play (in the playoffs or All-Star Game),” Zhao told China Daily before Luchey’s response was received.

Lions’ officials said the team won’t force the restricted free agent to fulfill his deal.

“We prefer to let him make the decision. If he wants to continue with his duties here, we’ll be happy. But if he wants to leave, we will release him, as he might play with a bad mood in the playoff if we keep him compulsively,” Lions general manager Ye Xiangyu told Zhejiang media after talking with other team executives on Wednesday night.

Chandler is a restricted free agent — other teams can put in bids on him but the Nuggets have the right to match. And they almost certainly would. Chandler is going to end up a Nugget, but that’s a team who could use him right now as they struggle with Danilo Gallinari out injured.

They may get him back sooner rather than later.

  1. tomtravis76 - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Didn’t realize Steph was still playing. Are any NBA teams looking at him? Maybe Lakers to fill a need at PG? Maybe Steph has learned why he is not in the league, but then again I have no idea if he is a star in China now.

    Damn , that T-wolves squad had some buzz around them, too bad the egos were too big.

    • denverhoopdreams - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      He’s been playing in China since his short stint with the Celtics.

      Definitely a big name out there too.

  2. phillyfan4ever - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Remember when he accidently bit David Lee’s are and he got such a bad infection from it Lee almost lost part of his arm.

    Chandler is rocking some serious dieases over there

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