If last season demonstrated anything, it is that the most impactful free agents in China turn up playing for the most random of teams. Back in September, Errick McCollum, a point guard who spent most his career in Israel, signed with Zhejiang and then proceeded to score 82 points in a game against Guangdong and also averaged 39.5ppg for the season (both CBA records). Another new arrival, Eli Holman single-handily dragged the Guangsha Lions’ to the play-offs and was an outside shot for league MVP. Indeed, the arrival of both men, plus others like Qingdao’s Justin Deadmon (who arrived from Lithuania) or Chongqing’s Willie Warren (Hungary) underline the American talent that can be found in lesser known overseas leagues. Continue reading
Never doubt the power of money, folks. The Xinjiang Tigers, barely five months after an embarrassing failure to make the CBA play-offs, have loaded up once again for a roster that looks– on paper at least– to be close to unstoppable. This is of course the Xinjiang way; win the offseason and come into the subsequent CBA campaign with everyone talking about them. Its happened many times before but this time, its especially galling. Not only have they added Li Gen, one of China’s best shooters, the Tigers have also hired Liu Quiping to act as the coach for the forthcoming campaign. Continue reading
‘Jiaolian’ is a documentary that’s been floating around for a few months now, and covers the highs and lows of a season in Chinese basketball. Focusing on the Foshan Long Lions and their coach at the time, Norman de Silva, Jiaolian looks set to be a wide-ranging film that looks at the CBA from a number of angles. Sitting down for an indepth interview is Esteban Arguello, the documentary’s director and the man who spent a season with one of the CBA’s youngest and most unpredictable teams.
He may not be a known name in Chinese basketball but He Tianju may about to become a very unlikely NBA player. News broke on Monday that the streaky Liaoning forward has been offered a try-out with the New Orleans Hornets and Chinese media duly reacted with barely constrained amazement. Continue reading
On the surface, the CBA offseason is six months of dead time. The national team gathers together the county’s best players together for several days (and sometimes even several weeks) of training sessions at various locations inside and outside China. For two months, the National Basketball League (NBL), the sport’s second tier in China, also gets played, albeit to little or no fanfare. Given that this is one of the few periods of free time for CBA players, right now is also the best time of year to be getting married so very tall dudes are either walking down the aisle right this second or watching one of their teammates do the same thing. But it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any meaningful basketball related activity going on. There’s plenty of it– but at this time of year, it’s all being held behind closed doors and far away from the court (and prying eyes). Continue reading
With speculation mounting about his free agency status, Yi Jianlian was forced to release a statement last Monday. In it, the captain of the Chinese national team confirmed that he had not re-signed with the Guangdong Tigers despite his looming free agency but that talks were set to begin soon.
But the announcement, designed to put Tigers fans at ease, underlines a growing concern that Yi might not actually agree to a deal. The ramifications were this to happen would be huge and if Yi did indeed go elsewhere, it essentially spells the end for one of Chinese basketball’s most successful rosters. Continue reading
Far away from the world’s eyes, the Xinjiang Tigers have existed in Chinese sport as a monolith for how one should absolutely not run a professional team. Fickle, slick and shameless; if there is talent for sale, the Tigers are picking up the phone and asking how much. Now Andray Blatche has even chosen Xinjiang over the NBA. Those numbers again, folks; three years, $7.5 million and the chance to be the most prominent athlete for a thousand mile in any direction.