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.
For West though, this marks another sad chapter for a player who has long spoken about trying to get back into the NBA. Last season, his Fujian team flirted with making it into the play-offs but couldn’t get it done despite being able to run out a crunch-time five of himself Zhao Tailong, Nikkhah Bahrami, Wang Zhelin and Will McDonald. One key weakness was defense, which was bad even by CBA standards and the Sturgeons repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with their complete inability to stop the opposition from scoring at the other end. Another appeared to be unity and midway through the season journalists alleged that they could overhear players shouting at each in the dressing room after a particularly bad loss.
West seemed to come out of that situation relatively untouched other than an embarrassing moment when he got ejected from a road game with the Zhejiang Bulls for trying to start a fight with a man seven inches taller than him and had to be pulled away by Ivan Johnson of all people. Indeed, upon arriving in Shanghai, he was made captain of the team (!!!) after the Sharks iconic combo guard Liu Wei left for the Xinjiang Tigers in the offseason.
Getting cut from Shanghai is ultimately going to hurt West, particularly in the pocket. The USA Today’s Sam Amick reported that West’s deal was unguaranteed, which seems a strange contract for a player coming off a decent season the previous year to agree to. Regardless though, it seems like West is done for the season or at least most of it if the lethargic Sharks were willing to cut him having made him such a big part of the team when he arrived.
At thirty-one, it seems probable to think that West will try again next year. In the meantime however, Shanghai fans can still look forward to the Michael Beasley experience in full and uninterrupted.