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
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.
The oft used quote that those who don’t learn from their history are only doomed to repeat it seems particularly apt in Xinjiang right now. The Tigers, forever looking to win their first ever CBA title, once again broke out the checkbook early on in the year to build up star-studded line-up. Liu Wei, Cao Fei, Zhou Qi, Jordan Crawford and Andray Blatche all arrived at the start of the year and yet the team is 9-4 when they were expecting to be 13-0. The reality is that in the industrial city of Urumqi, it is title or bust and their constantly anxious fan base is now once again calling for something to be done to get the team back on track. Continue reading
Well that was quick.
So with seven games of the season played, the Shanghai Sharks announced that they have cut Delonte West due to various injury issues. The former Fujian player, who had averaged 26.2 points, 5.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 2013, had struggled since moving to the Yuanshen. In five appearances, he was going for a disappointing 10 points and 1.2 assists a game before the axe fell yesterday. The Sharks, who are at 1-6 for the season and very much a team in rebuild mode, probably won’t care too much given that it will mean more minutes for twenty-four year old Ge Yang to develop.
So it looks like it will be official. After a lot of speculation, the Chinese Basketball Association will once again change its rules about the participation of foreign players in the league as it looks to shift the emphasis of the league away from American hero ball and towards a style of play that will involve local players more often.
Previously, teams were allowed to play both its foreigners for a combined six quarters, typically meaning each split a quarter in the first half and then play for the whole of the second. Under new proposals that will be applied with immediate effect, there will only be one foreigner allowed to play for the fourth quarter. Both foreigners will be able to play but they will have to sub out for one-another. Continue reading
Former Los Angeles Clipper big man Keith Closs played for the Yunnan Bulls during the 2008/09 CBA season, averaging 16.9ppg (whilst shooting nearly 60% from the floor) and 11.9 rpg. He would also lead the league in blocks with 5.9 per game. Now living in California, he talked to Shark Fin Hoops about his season in south-west China and playing for what was at the time one of the worst teams in the country.
Among the things that most confuse long-established American players in the Chinese Basketball Association is the reluctance of local players to take advantage of their free agency. In the CBA, contracts have expiration dates like you would see in the NBA but its still extremely rare to see a high profile player move teams. Lesser known Chinese players will of course switch teams but that is more because their current employer has no interest on offering them a new deal. Continue reading