Ex-NBA Players In Limbo As Chinese League Manages Virus

by February 25, 2020
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Chasson Randle of the Tianjin Pioneers

Several former NBA players signed to active contracts with teams in the Chinese Basketball Association are in limbo as the currently stalled league attempts to navigate the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the area.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports that Chasson Randle, who played 49 games for the Wizards last season, has been blocked from signing two 10-day contracts with NBA teams because of his contract with Tianjin.

Due to the outbreak, the CBA suspended operations after games on January 21st. There have been reports that the CBA intends to resume operations on April 1st but those have not been confirmed by the CBA. Most USA-born players have returned stateside to resume training while they await news on the CBA resuming play.

There are nearly-100 foreign-born players signed to contracts in China, including several former NBA players. For those players to return to the NBA or the NBA G League, they would need to acquire a release from their CBA contract and a letter of clearance from FIBA.

Below is a list of former NBA players currently signed in China:

PlayerCBA TeamLast NBA Team
Brandon BassLiaoningClippers, 2017
Antonio BlakeneyJiangsuBulls, 2019
MarShon BrooksGuangdongGrizzlies, 2019
Ian ClarkZinjiangPelicans, 2019
Dante CunninghamFujianSpurs, 2019
Jared CunninghamShangaiBucks, 2016
Kay FelderZinjiangPistons, 2018
Jamaal FranklinShanxiNuggets, 2015
Jonathan GibsonJiangsuCeltics, 2018
Marcus Georges-HuntGoungzhouTimberwolves, 2018
Hamed HaddadiNanjingSuns, 2013
Justin HamiltonBeijing DucksNets, 2017
Tyler HansbroughSichuanHornets, 2016
Lester HudsonShandongClippers, 2015
John JenkinsJiangsuKnicks, 2019
Dakari JohnsonQingdaoThunder, 2018
Dominique JonesJilin NEMavericks, 2013
Ty LawsonFujianWizards, 2018
Jeremy LinBeijing DucksRaptors, 2019
Ray McCallumShanghaiGrizzlies, 2016
Eric MorelandShanxiRaptors, 2019
Donatas MotiejunasShanghaiSpurs, 2019
Arnett MoultrieBeijing76ers, 2014
Shabazz MuhammadShenzhenBucks, 2018
Andrew NicholsonGuangzhouNets, 2017
Chasson RandleTianjinWizards, 2019
Lance StephensonLiaoningLakers, 2019
Jarnell StokesXinjiangNuggets, 2017
Ekpe UdohBeijing DucksJazz, 2019
Sonny WeemsGuangdongSuns, 2016
Joseph YoungNanjingPacers, 2018

Many of those players, including Randle and former Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, have expressed interest in returning to the NBA this season.

Playing in the CBA has long been a draw for former NBA players for several reasons. The salaries are general larger than most other overseas leagues, the style of play is conducive to putting up big stat-lines and the season ends in March.

The early end date has allowed players to make an NBA return in time for the stretch run and the NBA playoffs. How the changes in the CBA schedule this season impact players remains an open question. It’s one that several players would like an answer to.

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