Remember when Rodney Stuckey was being courted by the Guandong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association? Things didn’t work out and the Tigers instead decided to sign another young, speedy NBA point guard in Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Aaron Brooks. At the time I kind of felt bad for Stuckey as it would have meant he could have played basketball at a high level and gotten a nice payday to boot – especially since at the time the prospect of a canceled season was looking more and more likely.
Well it seems like Stuckey was quite lucky to be passed over. According to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo, officials in the Chinese Basketball Association are not going to let NBA players out of their contracts in order to go back to the NBA.
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.
. … 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.
“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.”
I know that the Pistons have a glut of point guards, but I’d hate for Stuckey to be forced into completing his season in China and then attempting to reintegrate himself back onto the team in March with a new coach, a new system, new teammates, and probably backing up rookie Brandon Knight. I’m not sold on Stuckey as the point guard of the future but I would like the Pistons and new coach Lawrence Frank to have all the tools at their disposal in order to fix this mess. That includes a healthy, tuned in Stuckey from the start of training camp on through the rest of the abbreviated season.
The list of NBA players this contract dispute impacts is longer than just Aaron Brooks, too. Per ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider), here is the list of players facing difficulties getting the OK to play again stateside.
Here’s a list of free agents who have signed to play overseas without NBA opt-out clauses this season. Note that a number of these players, especially the top ones, will likely try to find a way out of their contracts so they can sign deals in the NBA this season. But as of right now, they’re locked in.
Wilson Chandler (R), Nuggets (Zhejiang Guangsha, China); J.R. Smith, Nuggets (Zhejiang Lions, China); Aaron Brooks (R), Suns (Guangdong S. Tigers, China); Kenyon Martin, Nuggets (Xinjiang Flying Tigers, China); Nenad Krstic, Celtics (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Chris Douglas-Roberts (R), Bucks (Virtus Bologna, Italy); Sasha Vujacic, Nets (Anadolu Efes, Turkey); Josh Powell, Hawks (Liaoning Panpan, China); David Andersen, Hornets (Montepaschi Siena, Italy); Hilton Armstrong, Hawks (ASVEL Villeurbanne, France); Brian Scalabrine, Bulls (Benetton Treviso, Italy); Darius Songaila, Sixers (Galatasaray, Turkey); Jon Diebler, Blazers (Panionios, Greece); Joey Dorsey, Raptors (Baskonia, Spain); Dan Gadzuric, Nets (Jiangsu, China); Sonny Weems, Raptors (Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania); Pooh Jeter, Kings (Joventut Badalona, Spain); Chris Quinn, Spurs (Khimki Moscow, Russia); Mustafa Shakur, Wizards (Novipiu Casale, Italy); Von Wafer, Celtics (Cremona, Italy); Mario West, Nets (Tezenis Verona, Italy); Garrett Temple, Bobcats (Novipiu Casale, Italy).