J.R. Smith Might Leave China In Time To Be Next CBA’s First Bad Contract


Twitter / @STEIN_LINE_HQ: Quiet expectation in Chine … via kwout

We all did a little bit of a double take when three of the Denver Nuggets decided to head to China in the past couple of months.  Kenyon Martin’s deal is the richest in Chinese basketball history.  But it looks like, if Marc Stein is correct, at least two of those guys are coming back as soon as this lockout ends. 

Unfortunately for Kenyon, he won’t be joining them back in the States.


Twitter / @STEIN_LINE_HQ: But two sources who know C … via kwout

But he’ll be back in March at the latest.  That means he’ll loom as a potential final piece to the championship puzzle that can be signed at the veteran’s minimum for the rest of the season.  That will be a nice, cheap option for some team looking for a tough defender and rebounder off the bench.

Chandler’s a restricted free agent, so he won’t get as much wiggle room as the real winner in this (if the news is accurate), J.R. Smith.  I’m sure being released would be welcome news to Smith.  Last week, Sheridan Hoops documented the rough beginning to JR Swish’s time in China.

Smith’s initial experience in China was not that good. The first problem was the time difference. On his first day in China, Smith woke up at 2 a.m. and found himself in such a strange environment, he didn’t know what to do.

He wanted to send a Twitter update, but encountered problems because Twitter is blocked in China. At last, he found a way to tweet through his Blackberry: “Dear China, the fact that u won’t let me work my Skype on my desktop or twitter is really pissing me off.” Then another one: “Not even YouTube wow this is ass!”

No one said it wouldn’t be an adjustment.  Everyone knows these guys want to be playing NBA ball.  Sure it’s great that they’re catering to him as much as they can out there, but life’s just not the same.  And who knows, maybe it will give him a greater appreciation of what he has back here.  

And his team is under no obligation to let him go.  Chinese basketball eliminated out clauses for fear of an influx of NBA talent that would leave once the lockout ended.  But there’s nothing stopping teams from cutting anyone they want.  Americans often get cut anyway, so that’s not even something out of the ordinary.  

Smith is probably the most explosive scorer on the free agent market.  And because of that, he’ll get a lot of interest.  If he’s available in what is sure to be a free agent feeding frenzy once a new CBA is ratified, he could become the first mistake signing of the new CBA.  Some spurned GM will forget about Smith’s career sub-43 percent shooting number, see a guy who averaged more than 20 points per 36 minutes with Denver, and give him too much money to be a second option.

That makes me want Smith back more than ever.  I’m dying to see the reaction to the first bad free agent signing.  I can’t wait to see the explosion of angst when the same middling-to-bad team hands out the same kind of bad contract it always has, thus proving no CBA provision short of a Home Depot return policy can protect these guys from themselves.  My money is on Smith, especially in a condensed free agency period where the pressure is ratcheted up 10 notches, being the poster boy. 

So cut away, Zhejiang Chouzhou.  The result will be too juicy to resist.