Friday, September 16, 2011

Nuggets guard Smith signs with Chinese team

J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Photograph by: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

DENVER, Colorado, Sept 14, 2011 (AFP) - J.R. Smith signed a one-year deal with China’s Zhejiang Whirlwinds on Wednesday, making certain that he plays next season no matter how the NBA lockout turns out.

Leon Rose, Smith’s agent, told the Denver Post that Smith was concerned about the talks between NBA club owners and players after a lockout that began July 1. The latest negotiations broke off on Tuesday.

"People dont get me wrong i love the NBA an when the league i do plan to come back. How many chance have you had to do what you love an ppl in another country can appreciate it..." Smith posted on his Twitter account.

The Chinese Basketball Association has told players they will not be able to opt out of their contracts and return to the NBA this season if the stalemate ends and a settlement is reached allowing for a 2011-2012 NBA season to begin.

China’s season runs from October to February with the playoffs ending in mid-March, about a month before the start of the NBA season, so Smith and other players could return as free agents and join clubs late next season.

The Nuggets have already lost Wilson Chandler, a free agent who played for Denver last season, and another free agent, forward Kenyon Martin, is considering offers from China.

Smith averaged 12.3 points and 2.2 assists last season coming off the bench for the Nuggets.

© Copyright (c) AFP


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