Kenyon Martin May Be Headed Back to NBA

Like JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks, Kenyon Martin is stuck playing in China until March, or until his squad—the Xinjiang Flying Tigers—releases him. While the latter has been considered unlikely, ESPN is reporting that K-Mart may indeed be headed back to the NBA pretty soon: “The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China are giving strong consideration to releasing star forward Kenyon Martin, according to sources close to the situation. If Xinjiang goes through with the move, it would be the test case for established NBA players who signed in China during the lockout to possibly return to the NBA sooner than expected. Sources told that only the threat of serious sanctions from Chinese league officials for releasing a player of Martin’s stature in-season, including the potential forfeiture of games, has stopped Xinjiang from making the move already. Based on new rules instituted for this season in China, teams there were told that they could only sign NBA free agents and could not grant out clauses to those players to come back to the States in the event of the lockout ending. For the high-profile American signees — Martin, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Aaron Brooks — that meant they were committing to staying through the end of the Chinese Basketball Association season in March before having the freedom to sign a new NBA deal.”