Denver Nuggets restricted free agent Wilson Chandler said this week that he’s signing with Zhejiang in China.
Jim Tanner, who represents Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young, told HoopsHype.com that Young is strongly considering a move to China as well.
Washington Wizards guard Nick Young, like Thaddeus Young, is looking hard at going the Chandler route.
Young’s agent, Aaron Mintz, told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that Nick Young is getting “major interest” from teams in China.
The catch? Actually signing with one of them, like Chandler did, means Young would most likely be forfeiting the opportunity to play in the NBA in 2011-12 in the event that the lockout eventually ends, thanks to a rule instituted by the Chinese Basketball Association earlier this month that forbids its teams to include NBA out clauses in contract offers.
Translation: Any NBA player who signs in China is committing to play in China through the end of the CBA’s season in March. That theoretically creates the possibility of signing with an NBA team in April, but virtually every established NBA player who has signed an overseas deal to keep them occupied during the lockout -- such as New Jersey’s Deron Williams (Turkey) and Jordan Farmar (Israel), Portland’s Nicolas Batum (France) and Denver’s Ty Lawson (Lithuania) -- has secured an out clause that allows them to come home as soon as the lockout ends.
Chinese teams aren’t even permitted to sign NBA players with existing contracts, so they’re forced to target free agents if they want NBA-proven talent. They’re allowed a maximum of two foreign players and Zhejiang, which will be coached this season by longtime Phil Jackson aide Jim Cleamons, have signed Earl Clark along with Chandler. Philadelphia’s Young and Washington’s Young are restricted free agents like Chandler.
Nick Young averaged a career-high 17.4 points for the Wizards last season, capitalizing on an increased role in the offense made possible by the December trade that sent Gilbert Arenas to Orlando.
"Maybe I'll lose out," Chandler told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande on Monday. "But I think it can be a great experience. I haven't been in any [labor negotiation] meetings. I can't call it. I'm just taking a risk. … But as long as I take care of my body, I'll be fine. We've got insurance.”