Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 at 9:35 am  |  44 responses

No Escape Clauses for NBA Players in China?

The Chinese Basketball Association warned NBA players that they wouldn’t be able to get out of their deals should the lockout suddenly come to an end, and they seem to have meant it. From Yahoo! Sports: “Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Aaron Brooks are the four top NBA players under contract in China, and several sources involved in those contract entanglements said escape clauses won’t be allowed with the impending end of the NBA lockout. The Chinese Basketball Association passed a rule that its teams could sign only NBA free agents during the lockout, and it was made clear to those players they would have to play the full season to be given FIBA clearance letters to sign contracts with NBA teams. Smith has had multiple clashes with his team, and some Chinese officials fear players becoming obstinate and purposely missing practices and games once they realize they’ll be held to their contracts. Team officials have prepared for the possibility some players could try to force their way out of deals, but their contracts give teams the latitude to fine and suspend players without pay. Chinese teams invested heavily when they signed NBA players, also providing hotel suites, personal drivers and chefs to make the players more comfortable. ‘They can play, get paid [in China] and return to the NBA in March,’ one Chinese team official said. ‘Or they can not get paid, and return to the NBA in March.’ As a member of FIBA, the NBA needs a letter of clearance from Chinese teams to allow players to sign NBA deals. Chinese teams could face forfeiture of any games that NBA players participated in, if the players somehow end up back in the NBA before the Chinese season ends. ‘If they think that they’re going to make things difficult, not play, create problems, what’s going to happen is that the teams will not release their letters of clearance they’ll need to sign in the NBA,’ a Chinese Basketball Association official [said]. ‘There’s no way out.’”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com aman from arkansas

    wilson chandler, k-mart, j.r., and aaron brooks are all dumb asses!

  • Sean B

    Anyone who thinks these guys won’t be able to return to the NBA is retarded.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com/ Seth

    They’ll find a way back, but it would be amusing to see ‘em get stuck over there.

  • goattree

    Those are the big names, but who else is signed over there?

    I’d like to see a full list of current NBA’ers under contract outside of the NBA. Get on it SLAM!

    Did Sonny Weems sign in China? Or somewhere in Europe?


    Translation: Get ready to cut that chinese team a big fat check if you want a “letter of clearance” before March. They want a return on their investment. Money talks, bullish don’t play till March.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Just break the effing team rules.

  • Oli

    @goattree: sonny weems was playing for zalgiris kaunas (lithuania). as all nba-players playing in europe, he had an out-clause should the lockout end.
    i’m pretty sure the chinese nuggets will find a way back to the nba before march but until then, it will be interesting to watch.

  • Rashiodonics

    They can suspend them without pay. Since CBA part of FIBA, NBA can’t sign these players, until CBA give them release letters. No way around it… It may take Seal Team 6 to get them out of there.

  • JBV

    what IAMORANGE4EVER said

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Goattree: Weems (and Ty Lawson) play for the same team in Lithuania.
    I am truly amused at seeing NBA players being subjected to the exact same bureaucratic crap i had to go through as a lower level player in Europe years ago.
    Clearance letters are needed in FIBA play to be able to change teams. wouldn’t be surprised to see some chinese teams flex their muscles here due to the whole “not losing face” attitude prevalent in the culture. Was expecting the Nuggets/Suns etc. would just buy the guys outta their contracts. The threat of clearance letters adds another unique obstacle.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Not ALL players that signed abroad have out-clauses. There’s a good overview on Espn, Scalabrini, Krstic and Von Wafer for example don’t have that option.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Darksaber, SCAL doesnt have an opt out claus?????
    Im not watching any games this year.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Not even sure what to believe atm. Certain sites/media report that Wafer for example has an opt-out, while others say the opposite.
    Ah whatever, the Nba teams will buy out anyone they deem vital to their season.



  • Cheshire

    prepare for world war!

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    I thought Weems didn’t have an opt-out? But whatever, without JR, Kenyon, and Wilson, look for some inflated stats from the rest of the Nuggets team. Kenneth Faried will be a beast still though.

  • goattree

    I’m with you niQ, I was pretty sure the deal Sonny signed was no opt-out

  • greg

    i wont miss sonny weems anyways, we dont need his stupidity on the roster anyways

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I got Faried as favorite for ROY if he gets minutes. He will averaged double digit rebounds in anything more than 25 minutes. If he averaged 12 and 12 that might be enough to get ROY

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @nbk, the fact that this draft class wasn’t so strong, I think you may be right. Unless Kyrie or Derrick Williams average 20 points, Faried could be the favourite.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think Kyrie Irving is going to struggle. Especially if they Amnesty Baron Davis and he doesn’t have a real tutor. Cuz Ramon Sessions is not the same type of PG that Irving is, or will become. Derrick Williams is in sort of a pickle, cuz he is a 4, who will be forced to play the 3, behind Beasley, who is not much older, and has already averaged 20PPG. If (beasley’s) improvement continues, I don’t see enough minutes for Williams. …..unless Adelman will be nutty enough to put Kevin Love at Center and totally write off playing defense? I’m just not sure he will do that. As far as I remember, Adelman likes having 2 bigs in the game at all times, which means less minutes for the tweeners. — This, all assuming Beasley doesn’t get traded, which very well could happen.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    @nbk: Kyrie will struggle like any other rookie, but once the Cavs amnesty Baron, he will still have a PG focused coach in Byron Scott to ‘mentor’ him. Scott worked with Baron, CP3 and JKidd, can’t think of a better coach for a rookie PG.

  • http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7290143/it-just-money Allenp

    I just read that Yi has an escape clause. So they have a special clause for him, but not for any other players.
    That figures.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen, it has to do with the fact that Yi already had a Chinese/American Visa. There is some clause that they cannot prohibit him from returning to the NBA for that reason. (whether they actually created the rule for him, idk) – @The Nupe, great point. But I still think he struggles (in terms of being the best rookie in the league).

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Cleveland should never have picked irving #1 they could have traded that pick, still got Derrick Williams at #2, and drafted Kemba Walker or Josh Selby later on. Both of which are just as talented as Irving.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • Enigmatic

    NOT SCAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.google.com/news BETCATS

    Meh who is to say J.R. Smith wont enjoy being the best CBA player for a year before he comes back? I mean all 4 of these guys really are not known outside of NBA circles, and they must be getting God-like treatment from CBA fans.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    These guys signed these contracts knowing there was no opt out clause. So I don’t see the problem. They’ll come back after March, it’s just a matter will they be paid anything up to that point or not. A laarge part of me really just wonders why they tookd these deals when they did anyway (without really understanding how long the lockout would last). Maybe they’ve made some poor financial decisions and just needed the money? Which if that’s the case, they made another poor financial decision by signing these deals. At the end of the day, I just believe once you make your bed you need to lie in it. These guys and thier agents knew what they were signing and the risk (or should have) and I highly doubt that FIBA will let them come back early and I hope that the owners don’t try to buy-out their contracts, this would be another way the owners could gain some additional leverage in future lockouts where players will think twice before signing in China and ‘limit’ alternative places for players to play.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think Kenyon Martin was getting a better deal than he’d likely get in the States, to be honest.
    Plus, they probably figured the NBA was losing a year. It looked that way for a while.

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    China got that crazy medicine thing going on how come they all blowing their knees out? Plus they communist. Good luck guys.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    lol @max

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Ni-hao!The illuminati strikes again.

  • Enigmatic

    Funny how everyone thought they looked like genuises when it looked like there wasn’t going to be a season, now everyone’s saying they’re stupid cause the season’s about to be on again.
    These cats knew they were gambling from the get. They didn’t know how things were gonna turn out.

  • @Deknowz

    So the Denver Nuggets are under contract in China until March, that’s gotta suck…

  • Jer Boi

    There goes the Nuggets season. And this gives Nene more of a reason to leave Denver. ahh. sucks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Kenyon Martin wasn’t trying to mess around with no lockout.. he was trying to get paid now.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    They knew the dealing going into the season. Yeah, it sucks that they’ll be missing out on the NBA for a year (unless they buy out their contracts I guess…), but the teams were up front about the no-opt out clause. If they’d wanted the chance to opt-out they could have played in Europe–but of course, there isn’t a fan base of 1.3 billion people in Europe, and these guys wouldn’t have cashed in as much in the long run.

  • Niio

    LMAO @ Oli!! The Chinese Nuggets!! haha

  • Exile

    Hey… They signed it. Man up and play.

  • golakeshow

    Check this. slamadamonth. Dwight freeney over jamichael finley

  • shawnkemp4prez

    I’m just picturing Kenyon Martin in a “Lost in Translation” scenario ala Bill Murray. Whiskey commercial and all.

  • Solito

    Good luck over there, dudes! We are talking about a league and teams that are run by government officials. NBA Teams buying out their players might be an option, but only if it happens behind the scene and the CBL can put the “we are such nice people to allow them to leave” PR Flag on it. Chances are, they had to hand in their passports anyways, to make sure they don’t bail over night.

  • hushabomb

    As long as the players don’t get injured or worse, they’ll be fine. Cos imports over there are allowed to play 2 halves of ball per game. The downside is that they like to practice a lot.

    Remember also that the NBA is also trying to cram games (3 games in 3 days is nuts especially if its away games). So they will be fine, just think of it as longer training camp.