Nuggets guard Smith celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Denver

Chandler, Smith could be released from China when lockout ends

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What the Chinese government — which is what really runs the Chinese Basketball Association — did not want was teams to rent an NBA player during the lockout. So they only allowed their teams to sign NBA free agents and no opt-out clause for when the lockout ended.

But even as seemingly half the Denver Nuggets signed in China — Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith — there was speculation they would be back when the NBA season eventually started.

Marc Stein at ESPN tweeted this early Monday morning.


PBT talked about this possibility at the time. China has the highest turnover of foreign players of any league in the world, and already this year Earl Clark has been released by his Chinese team. Not only is the basketball different, it’s a huge culture change with the language, food and customs. Last season only a couple of teams in the Chinese league didn’t have player turnover.

The idea that bigger name American players could have a handshake deal to be let go when the lockout ends was something PBT discussed at the time.

Even if they are not, the Chinese season ends in March, which would lead to a second free agent signing period with good players that could change the dynamic of the league heading into the playoffs.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.