The inevitable call for the return of Zaid Abbas to Shanghai began months ago but suddenly things have moved with a lot more pace. Various Chinese blogs have been touching on a variety of reports concerning the Jordanian power forward and how it all relates to the Sharks.
Abbas, who has led four different teams to the CBA playoffs in as many seasons, has long been one of Chinese basketball’s most sought after free-agents. Shanghai are one such team that the 2013 CBA All-Star led to the postseason (back in 2010) and pockets of Sharks fans have been seeking his return to the Yuanshen ever since. Beyond seemingly magical powers of bestowing playoff basketball on his employers, Abbas is a proven leader and also is familiar with the quirks of the CBA.
Currently, the Jilin Tigers are the most heavily linked team to Abbas. However, the forward also has an upcoming tryout with the Detroit Pistons, largely thanks to the former’s relationship with new Pistons’ assistant coach (and Jordanian national team coach) Maz Trak. Abbas though has made it clear that he would not rule out making a Chinese team his number one option- presumably if the money is right.
This brings in Shanghai, who are interested in beefing up their frontcourt with Abbas. Reportedly Sharks owner Yao Ming has continued to state that his team will not employ the ‘third foreigner rule’ that entitles a bottom five CBA team to recruit one further non-Chinese/American forward. This means Abbas would only be one of two foreigner on the Shanghai team this year. Yao has continually stated his opposition to the rule and so the Sharks would be making a powerful statement by not making use of their advantage.
Moreover, sources within the Yuanshen have further briefed the Chinese press that there will be no signings until after the NBA summer leagues so that the NBA free agent market becomes a little clearer. In the meantime, this leaves Abbas open to a bid from Jilin to secure Abbas’ services.
Last season, Abbas averaged 17.9ppg along with 11.3rpg as his Shandong team made it to the CBA finals before losing to the Guangdong Tigers.