Turnover in the Chinese Basketball Association is common — especially with American players — but it hasn’t been that way with the NBA players inked to play there during the NBA lockout.
At least not yet. That could be changing, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports.
The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China are giving strong consideration to releasing star forward Kenyon Martin, according to sources close to the situation.…
Sources told ESPN.com 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.
Remember that the Chinese league did not want a “rent a player” situation so they only allowed teams to sign NBA free agents and said they had to keep them the entire season. Many observers expected there where handshake deals between the players and teams that when the lockout ended the players would be released.
But as of now, no signed NBA players have been let go by teams.
Xinjiang is off to a slow start and is paying big money to K-Mart, so they want to shake things up. This is a move they would make for “basketball reasons” but the league may step in to block it. Sound familiar?
If K-Mart is released it could open the door for other NBA players in China — J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks — to get released as well. This would be a test case.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.