- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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After appearing in just three games with the NBA D-League's Texas Legends, Rashad McCants is off to China.
One of McCants' representatives, Washington-based Lindsey Maxwell, told ESPNDallas.com in an email Thursday that McCants has elected to accept a lucrative offer from an unspecified Chinese team after the Mavericks declined to provide the former lottery pick any assurances about eventually securing a roster spot with them.
McCants hasn't played in the NBA since the 2008-09 season and ultimately decided to report to the Mavericks' D-League affiliate in Frisco three games into the Legends’ season in hopes of playing his way back onto the NBA's radar.
The Legends acquired McCants' D-League rights through a new allocation rule in the NBA this season that allows D-League teams to claim the rights to three players released by parent clubs in training camp. The shooting guard signed with the Mavs late in training camp and was released within 48 hours in a move essentially aimed at ensuring that the Nancy Lieberman-coached Legends would have McCants’ rights as opposed to merely hoping they could land him in the D-League draft.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed during the broadcast of the Legends' home opener on 103.3 FM last week that the team was indeed evaluating McCants as a potential in-season signee as a free agent. But Cuban made it clear that he wanted to see how willing McCants -- who was selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft -- was to fit into a team structure after his time away from the NBA mainstream.
"We wanted to see Rashad,” Cuban said. “[We know] he can shoot. Now we've just got to see how focused he is. Is it important enough for him to come out here and work on both sides of the court? As opposed to, 'I'm just going to shoot, it's going to go in and then I'm going to wave to the crowd.' "
McCants, though, wasn't even starting for the Legends after the Mavericks assigned rookie Dominique Jones to the D-League at virtually the same time the former North Carolina star joined the team. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged just 18 minutes in his three outings, averaging 12.3 points as a reserve.
"This offer [from China] was promptly communicated to my client and he immediately asked me to contact the Mavericks' organization to explain the situation and to give them the opportunity to match it, offer him a roster spot or some assurances of a roster spot in Dallas," Maxwell wrote. "After some discussions between myself, [Mavericks president of basketball operations and Legends co-owner] Donnie Nelson and [Legends GM] Spud Webb, my client decided that he should explore his options in China. That process is ongoing, and we hope to have that deal finalized later today."
The Chinese team will have to pay a buyout of $45,000 to free McCants from his $25,500 contract, which he had pledged to donate to the Urban Born youth and teen charity foundation. The Legends will retain McCants' D-League rights if he wants to try another stint in the NBA's developmental league again, which is generally regarded as the most scouted and athletic league in the world outside of the NBA.
McCants practiced with the Legends on Wednesday, then left town to return to his Southern California home in anticipation of the move to China.