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.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.