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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Rodney Stuckey headed to Guangdong?

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

The Guangdong Southern Tigers in China are making a hard push to sign Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

The biggest hurdle for Guangdong to clear, though, is the same hurdle all Chinese teams face when trying to land NBA players: Stuckey, if he signs, would be unable to come back to the NBA until Guangdong's season ends in March, even if the lockout ends before that, thanks to rules instituted this season by the Chinese Basketball Association.

The rules also state that Chinese teams can pursue only free agents. Stuckey would have been a restricted free agent this summer, under the NBA's previous labor agreement.

Guangdong also recently signed Washington Wizards unrestricted free agent Yi Jianlian. But because of different CBA rules for Chinese nationals, Yi has the freedom to return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends. Yi is a native of Heshin, Guangdong, and played for the Tigers from 2002 to 2007 before his jump to the NBA.

A trio of players from the Denver Nuggets -- Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith -- are the most prominent NBA free agents to sign in China and forgo the right to play in the NBA this season before March, unless any of their Chinese teams elect to release them outright.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.