Four NBA Players Trapped In China

The Denver Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler, alongside the Phoenix Suns’ Aaron Brooks are trapped in China under their basketball contracts with the country. All four players signed with China-based teams, amidst much hesitation from their support systems. China will not let the NBA players out of their respective contracts until their season is over in March.

We all knew how strict and serious the guidelines are in China. Now, NBA players are getting a firsthand look at the country. A great deal of NBA players signed with teams overseas, but most did so with a contract that would allow them to bail once the NBA season resumed action.

Martin, Smith, Chandler and Brooks went against the norm, stubbornly signing in China thinking they would be able to opt out of the country if the NBA lockout ended. They obviously underestimated who they were dealing with.

In fact, the most recent rumors are that the four players have been actively trying to get waived or kicked off their respective teams. The four NBA stars have been behaving badly in the hopes that the Chinese will get fed up with their antics. However, China responded in a different manner.

The following statement was issued by a Chinese Basketball official to CBS.

“They can play, get paid (in China) and return to the NBA in March, or they cannot get paid, and return to the NBA in March.”

Yikes. That statement does not garner any confidence for those four players and their 2012 seasons. I don’t care how much money the NBA has, obviously we have seen over the past few months how stingy they can be with it. I can’t envision David Stern working out a deal with China.

Three of the players are on one team -Denver- which could hurt the success of their team in the upcoming season, thus hurting David Stern’s pocket within the Denver market. I do, however see four big-time NBA talents being trapped in China until March, the same time the NBA season will be concluding. It is a sad state for the game seeing the lockout going so far that NBA talent actually had to look for work in other countries. This lockout, although seemingly over, is still effecting players and will continue to throughout the season.

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  • Richard

    What about integrity? This seems to be a lost virtue. These four men knew what they were doing when they signed a binding agreement to play in China. They are bound to their commitment! Stay in China and enjoy keeping your word!!!

    • Tony Piraro

      I couldn’t agree more Richard. They are ignorant of other countries rules and have an obligation to their respective teams in China. I’m tired of rich athletes thinking they can get out of anything because of their wealth. Thanks Richard for the input.

      • Paul Rinaldi

        Once again, greed has exceeded need. I hope they never come back!

        • Tony Piraro

          Hey Paul, return visitor! I definitely agree with the greediness, but I do hope they come back. Thanks again for the input. Come back soon!


    more like four scrubs trapped in china

    • Tony Piraro

      haha, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the four I am talking about are legit NBA players. They are not the most intelligent or “winners” by any stretch, but their worth is very valuable to the Nuggets and Suns…Thansk JDogg for the input. I appreciate it!

  • Billy of Aus

    Um there is not just the 4 players listed in the article. Think you may have forgotten about Paddy Mills of the Blazers, who was just starting to come into his own as last season came to an end.

    • Tony Piraro

      Bill, thanks for the input and I appreciate you pointing that out for me. I realize there are players signed all over the world, I was just trying to highlight the 4 best in China. Yes, I saw P-Mills firsthand in college and he is the real deal. I’d love to see him as a future star PG in the league. He did come on strong at the end of last season. I appreciate the heads up Billy of Aus (Australia?) Nice talking to you. Come back anytime.

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    • Tony Piraro

      Hi, I don’t know what this means…is it relevant to basketball in China? Anyway, maybe you’re looking for a different forum…Thank you though for the….the ugh…well, thanks

  • peter

    Good point. Really disappointing that we lose Brooks for the season, I really thought he was the only guy out there who might be able to acceptably learn Nash’s style of play, which would make him an excellent backup PG for us.

    Oh well…we have so many other problems, what is one more I guess.

    • Tony Piraro

      Thanks Peter for the comment. I agree with you, Brooks is a key piece to the Suns. He is not a household name yet, but for NBA fans they know who AB is. His game is so legit on the offensive end, he can score from anywhere on the floor. His jumper is pure and he isnt afraid to get tangled up underneath for his diminutive size. He is the best back-up in the league for Nash, I love his upside especially in the high-powered Phoenix offense. Thanks again for the input Peter

  • mike

    They can just leave China and not get paid and return to the NBA and play. The Chinese team can’t tell us what to do we hire them and China can stick their contract up their butts. They going to take them to court a court date they will never show up for and that our country will never send them to. Who cares China keeps their money they leave screw the chinese.

    • G-Man

      Mike, I have no idea where you are from but can tell that you have never been outside this country. They can not leave just like that, how do you expect them to pass Chinese border patrol at the airport? They have to obtain permit from the Chinese government and their teams to leave or complete the terms that they signed. So they can not move their butt anywhere. They have to play there until March…. Should have gone to Europe.

    • Tony Piraro

      Haha, ok…well thanks regardless for the strong opinion mike, however I cant agree with them entirely. Keep them coming though, mike. That is what’s great about our country, freedom to speak your mind…

    • James

      Mike, I think Stern won’t allow players back in the NBA if they have contracts with other teams unless those other teams release the players. That is specifically why all of the other players got the opt-out clause. Otherwise, everybody else would just collect checks, and then run for it when the NBA started up again.

  • Adam

    I hope they keep that loser Kenyon Martin’s idiot ass in China for as long as possible!!

    • Tony Piraro

      You are not alone there Adam. I know a lot of people send you there, not me, but a lot of people. Thanks for the comment Adam

    • Tony Piraro

      Sounds like you have a personal vendetta with K-Mart?! Were you guys boys or something?

  • Kev

    Do we need these 4 guys? NO! They left on their own and everyone knew that there was no opt out clause, just play out the season, no sympathy for them at all.