Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 3

Meant to make a great "Hack-A-Shag" joke in the last post, and forgot. Never mind. We'll save it for next year.

- Kenny Anderson

Anderson has not played since the 2005-06 season. His NBA career ended the year before, when he split the 2004/05 season between the Hawks and the Clippers, and after being waived by L.A. in March 2005, a 10 month wait ensued. Anderson then joined legendary Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas for the rest of the season. It was the first and only non-NBA gig of his professional career. Chibbs averaged 2.4 points and 1.6 assists in the Euroleague alongside 5.9 points and 2.8 assists in the Lithuanian league, and then that was the end of his playing career.

In between those last two playing gigs, he was declared bankrupt.

The last time we checked in on Anderson, he had been named the head coach of the CBA's Atlanta Krunk. It was all supposed to be brilliant; for the 2007-08 season, the team hired Anderson as head coach, hired Kenny Smith's brother Vincent as the general manager, signed Grayson Boucher (And-1's "The Professor") and minor league superhero Zach Marbury (Stephon's brother) as a backcourt, announced Freedom Williams of C&C Music Factory fame as the majority owner, brought on Stephon's clothing company to be the team's uniform designers, and started shooting a reality TV show about the team. It was all supposed to be awesome. And then it wasn't. In their only CBA season, the Krunk went 9-41, a loss total which included 9 forfeits. Players were not being paid - at one point, the team was down to as few as five players as everyone kept bailing on them due to the lack of salaries. Their home arena was deemed unsuitable, so they had to play all their games down the stretch of the season on the road, and they also had no uniforms. To say it went a bit tits up sells it a bit short. I'm surprised they saw through the season.

The team was resold to new owners, moved to the PBL for the 2008-09 season, and changed its name and location to the Augusta Groove. They played one more average season, finishing 10-10, but had more financial troubles and folded. Anderson was there only for year one.

After it all went south, Anderson joined a clinic run by the NBA for retired players looking to begin coaching careers. At some point, he was also the coach of a SlamBall team. He is currently studying (not coaching) at St. Thomas's University in Miami, and is hireable for both speaking engagements and running workouts.

Anderson is also a very active Twitterer. Follow him here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 2

- Akin Akingbala

Akingbala came out of nowhere to be a decent rebounder and defender for Clemson in his senior season, and was a training camp invite of the Celtics in 2006 as a result. After that he went to the D-League for a bit, and has spent the last three years touring Europe. He is currently with Nancy in France (pronounced Noncy, which is even funnier), averaging 11.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in the French league. Akingbala exclusively does "big man things", as evidenced by his 47% FT shooting and 2 assists all year. But as athletic interior players go, you could do worse. The King Baller also put up a 9 points, 7 rebounds, 8 blocks statline earlier this month, which is not bad going.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 1

The Where Are They Now series of posts started out by accident, yet they've become the most enjoyable part of the website. They seem to be fun for you to read, and they're definitely fun for me to write, so now that Christmas time has passed and new seasons have begun around the world, we begin a list anew.

The list covers all the players in the site's player database that aren't currently in the NBA. This is the best part of 1,000 people, ranging from retired players you've heard of, to unsigned draft picks you've never heard of, to free agents on the cusp of the big dance, to players who one day will be in the NBA, to players who absolutely could play in the NBA but who are doing well enough elsewhere, to players who one day will be in the NBA,all the way down to random players I like who never have been in the NBA and that never will be. It'll be long and fun at times, long and dull at other times, and sometimes just plain long. I'll try to find as many different ways to say the phrase "on the season he is averaging" as can be, but if I repeat myself, chalk it up as an occupational hazard.

In theory, there's going to be one of these a day until about April. The list will be in alphabetical order, ish. So let's begin.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thunder acquire Eric Maynor and Matt Harpring for PETER FEHSE

I have only 48 things to say about this deal.

1) As his profile suggests, I have long regarded Peter Fehse as a yardstick for a person's NBA knowledge. If a fan knows who Peter Fehse is, they are freaking hardcore and deserve your respect.

Short story short, Peter Fehse is a lanky German with lots of hair, who was drafted in the second round in 2002 as an absolute longshot based on his combination of height and athleticism. He never amounted to anything NBA calibre, partly because he never had NBA calibre to begin with, but also because of constant injuries.

It has been over seven years since Peter Fehse was last heard of in NBA circles; indeed, he's barely even heard in German basketball cirles either. Fehse has not played this season, played in only two games last season, and did not play in 2007/08, all of which is due to injury. As long shot projects go, he was about as long shotty as a 49th pick can be, and is even more of a throw-in than Andy Betts was when he was traded for Peja Stojakovic in July 2006. Gotta love that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jared Reiner, Eddie Basden, Marcus Campbell all join the D-League

The D-League has bagged itself some more former NBA talent.

In five of the last six years, Iowa centre Jared Reiner has appeared in an NBA training camp. In 2004 it was the Bulls; in 2005 it was both the Clippers and the Suns; in 2006 it was the Spurs; in 2008 it was the Sixers; this past summer, it was the Timberwolves. In that time, Reiner has only played in 46 NBA games, 27 of which came with the unlisted Bucks down the stretch of the 2006/07 season. But that's no reason to stop trying, and, seemingly unable to get a tasty European deal, Reiner has opted for the NBA exposure offered up by the D-League. If things go well, he could make it six of seven.

Blazers sign Anthony Tolliver, Heat waive Shavlik Randolph

After suffering their ten millionth injury, the Portland Trail Blazers were granted a roster exemption by the NBA, enabling them to sign a 16th player. They used it to sign Anthony Tolliver from the Idaho Stampede, who was arguably the best big man in the D-League. If you can really call him a big man, that is.

Tolliver played as an undersized centre in college, but is somewhat undersized for even the power forward position in the NBA, let alone centre. To counter this, Tolliver has developed a good outside jumpshot throughout his professional career, and it is now his calling card. Tolliver played some for the Spurs last season, but his jumpshot picked a bad month for a vacation, and he was waived before the contract guarantee date. He spent the rest of the year split between the D-League and Turkey.

John Lucas III Involved In Very Lame Chinese Fight

The Chinese Basketball Association season begins tonight (Saturday), and former Heat, Rockets and Thunder point guard John Lucas III welcomed it with a fight.

What the fight was about, I have no idea, and who instigated it, I have no clue. Whether John Lucas III did anything wrong is similarly unclear, as is who the rest of the people involved were. All we know about said fight is that it spawned these two hilarious pictures:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Michael Sweetney signs in China

As always, Chinese Basketball Association transactions are extremely hard to verify. There is no English language version of the CBA's website, and crude Google translations aren't really that helpful. Tryouts are often reported as signings, signings often aren't reported at all, and lots of things go unreported. From these tatty shreds, we have to piece together the workings of an entire league. And it's not easy.

However, one thing that's perfectly clear is that former Bulls and Knicks big big big man Michael Sweetney has joined the legion of ex-NBA big men making their way over to the Chinese Basketball Association. The story was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski over six weeks ago, and became official yesterday.

Sweetney turned down the offer of a workout with the Memphis Grizzlies to go to China, fully aware of the fact that he's not able to play in the NBA right now. The reason why he's not able to play in the NBA right now is obvious; put simply, he's fatter than ever. How fat? This fat:

That's Byron Eaton territory.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knicks sign Jonathan Bender.....wait, what?

I like to think that I keep my ear pretty close to the ground. If you're going to know about such perfectly useless things as Kevin Burleson signing in Romania, then you kind of have to. Yet I had absolutely no idea that the Knicks were considering signing Jonathan Bender, nor that they were even able to. Quite literally shocked to see that headline today.

Bender retired in February 2006 after being assumed to have been retired for a long while prior. He had begun to break out in the 2001-02 season when he averaged 7.4 points in 78 games for the Pacers, but not only was that the best he'd ever play, it was almost the most he'd ever play. Bender's games played total plummeted from there on out; from 78 in 2001/02, to 46 in 2002/03, to 21 in 2003/04, to 7 in 2004/05, to only 2 in 2005/06. He suffered from a degenerative knee condition that caused chronic pain due to the destruction of the knee's cartilage, and there was no way back from that, forcing his retirement. There still isn't, really, which is why I wrote this when we last covered Bender back in January:

Jonathan Bender is still retired, and probably always will be.

Apparently that was not true, though. Bender is now back, joining up with the general manager that traded for him and gave him the $28 million with which he built his business empire. The league once again has a 7 foot shooting guard, and not the Primoz Brezec type of 7 foot shooting guard.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

D-League transactions, from lately until now

Last year was my first year of watching college basketball. It was also the first year it appeared regularly on British TV. Those two things are related.

I watched every game I could get my hands on, everything across the spectrum. From North Carolina and Duke to Morehead State and Cornell (with about seven trillion UConn games along the way), I watched as much of the game as I could, and took copious notes on the back of every bank statement I own. (I really should buy some paper.) It didn't take long for Syracuse to emerge as my favourite NCAA team. The reasons for that:

1) The Orange uniforms are well nice.
2) They had about 786 televised games over here for some reason.
3) They only played seven guys, one of whom was an unskilled Belgian.
4) Jim Boeheim's wife is hot.
5) Eric Devendorf has a potty mouth.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"That Guy We Drafted," 1993

Continuing the whereabouts round-ups of all recent NBA drafts, this is the fifth installment of the series. The non-canonical first four: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997.

As always, this is really long. Feel free to skip bits.

First round

- 1st pick: Chris Webber (Golden State)

- Webber retired from basketball in March 2008 after an unsuccessful short stint with the Warriors. He now works as an analyst for NBA TV, along with the occasional TNT appearance. Webber's restaurant outside the ARCO Arena in Sacramento abruptly closed last month, but he's supposedly writing a book, and he's also active in business, owning both Maktub LLC (which builds things) and Full Bloom Marketing (which markets things). He also released an album back in 1999. I would love to know what that's like.

Chris Webber fact; on draft night 1993, Webber's rights were traded by the Magic (who picked first) to the Warriors, in exchange for the rights to Penny Hardaway (picked third), as well as first round draft picks in 1996, 1998 and 2000. That is a HELL of a lot to give up just to move up two places in the draft, and it could have been especially painful considering that the Warriors sucked between 1997 and 2002. However, it could have been worse than it was. I've tried to piece back together what became of those picks, and here's what I've found:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

So This Actually Happened

At the end of the third quarter of a game that was a blowout from the fifth minute onwards, Raptors point guard Jarrett Jack holds the ball at the top of the key. Noticing his shoelace is undone, he tucks the ball under his arm while the clock continues to tick, and ties it back up.

Not a single Bulls player tries to knock it away.

That basically summed up the whole game. The Bulls played worse than any team has ever played in any game at any standard in any season of any decade in any league in any country of any sport ever. They were listless, talentless and overmatched, with the playbook of a Corleggy cheese and all the energy of a bag of spanners. They fought like a Frenchman on their way to losing 110-79, in front of a sold out crowd of men in suits who refused to boo as if they cared. It's the only time I've ever turned off a game because I couldn't stand to watch it. Bad, bad, bad times.

If you happen to own or run an NBA team and are looking to hire someone to work 80 hour weeks as a professional nerd, hire me. Because then I can stop supporting the Bulls.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Trade idea of the week

Last Christmas Eve, the Houston Rockets traded Steve Francis and a 2009 second round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for a conditional 2011 second round pick. I remember this trade specifically because I totally called it.

The deal was made to help Houston dodge the luxury tax. And it worked, because they did. By dumping Francis's $2,634,480 salary onto the Grizzlies, the Rockets saved themselves that much again in luxury tax savings, as well as picking up a $2,911,756 rebate from not being a luxury tax payer. The amount of money they saved was more than enough to justify giving the Grizzlies enough cash to pay Francis's remaining salary for the remainder of the season, and by returning the Grizzlies's 2009 pick to them - one which they had previous acquired in the draft night 2008 three way trade that saw Memphis move up for Darrell Arthur - the Rockets found sufficient incentive for the Grizzlies to help them. For the Grizzlies, they were essentially given a free pick; they were given a player that they didn't want, but also enough money to pay his salary without him ever turning up, and they got a 30's pick for their troubles. All they had to do was sacrifice some cap space that they weren't going to use anyway.

James Lang suffers severe stroke

From a tweet from Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen, former Hornets, Wizards and Hawks big man James Lang has just had a "severe" stroke.

Flash Fans please keep 3 year center James Lang in your thoughts and prayers. James suffered a severe stroke just after Thanksgiving.

James has always been a fan and player favorite. He is fighting to pull through.


Lang spent last season with the Flash, averaging 6.4ppg and 4.1rpg, and was named as one of their returning players this season last month. However, he was waived out of training camp on November 18th due to "injury."

Little did we know.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Robert Swift and Luke Nevill waived

The following real quote is a real quote:

As soon as I heard that Bakersfield had a team, I was hoping I could play for them."

- Robert Swift

Swift played high school basketball in Bakersfield, hence this desire, and he got his wish when he was allocated to the Jam last month, becoming their starting centre by default. (He also got a haircut.) However, in keeping with the recent theme of Swift's career, it didn't go very well. Swift played in only two games for the team - totalling 4 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 6 fouls and 6 turnovers - and was today waived due to "personal reasons." The reason cited was due to a family matter back in Seattle.

Now, I have no reason to dispute the validity of that reason, and don't wish to make it sound like I do. There's no incentive to lie or reason to disbelieve it. But it does reinforce a worrying fact; Robert Swift's career isn't going too well. At all. Swift has essentially missed all of the last three seasons, and played only 1,500 minutes and 97 games in a five year NBA career. He's still only 24, but he has almost nothing to show for five years. Even his sophomore season, in which he played 987 of those minutes, was not really that good.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Kirk Snyder ordered back to jail after cutting off his electronic ankle bracelet

Yesterday, I tweeted that Kirk Snyder - who had been rumoured as a possible returnee to the Chinese Basketball Association this season - had been denied entry to the league, as officials saw him as undesirable what with his whole burglary/vicious assault/incarceration/suicide watch/forcefeeding medication story thing. It surprised me that there was even a possibility of Snyder's return. The last I heard, he had been released from the mental ward and found competent to stand trial, but no news that he had been released from jail.

However, today, we found out that he HAD been released from jail, but only while wearing an electronic tagging device. And we know this because he was just sent back to jail for cutting it off.

The question of you would do that is an obvious and entirely valid one, yet considering that we're talking about a man who had to be force fed, savagely beat a man to a pulp in full view of his wife, and who was recently deemed by the courts to be mentally incompetent, then nothing can be a surprise any more. The hope that Kirk Snyder had merely had a mini-drug-induced-freakout - which would be incredibly little solace, but which was a better thing to hope for that this - is now completely dead. Kirk Snyder would appear to be oh so very irrational right now, and it's not fun to think about.

So, because it's more fun to do, let's instead remember Kirk Snyder the basketball player. Here he is with a much underrated dunk over Von Wafer (here pictured as a Laker; no one seems to remember that he used to be a Laker, but it happened.)

They were good times. Simpler times. Happy times. But they ain't coming back.

Strasbourg releases Terrel Harris

As mentioned in the 1997 NBA Draft Where Are They Now Round-up Recap Thing, IG Strasbourg are a French team that's not doing very well. They're currently joint 15th in the 16 team French ProA league with a 2-7 record and a 3 game losing streak. They're currently in the EuroChallenge (the third tier continent-wide club tournament), and they lead this group, but that won't count for a whole lot unless they reverse their French league fortunes. So they've made some changes, signed Wen Mukubu (to replace the injured Alain Digbeu), and waived Terrel Harris.

Harris, pictured here receiving mid-game oral sex from an unnamed Texas Longhorn with different sized ears, was signed in the summer to try and provide some of that scoring help. He averaged 13.9ppg for the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season, doing little else except shoot impromptu threes and rebound a little bit. He's only been doing half to that for Strasbourg this season, though, averaging only 6.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.6 fouls per game. He shot the three well, scoring over 48% from outside, but he offered nothing else outside of that.

Not a good week for former Oklahoma State players.

EDIT: Strasbourg have also signed former NBA guard and sexual tyrant Anthony Roberson, who replaces Harris. Mukubu replaces Digbeu.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Byron Eaton's Arse Update

Yesterday, the Tulsa 66ers acquired DeVon Hardin, a former Oklahoma City Thunder draft pick. It's very rare that players whose draft rights are owned by an NBA team end up playing in the D-League; in fact, off the top of my head, the only other time I can remember it happening was with Ejike Ugboaja back in 2007. Nevertheless, after playing in China for some summer money, Hardin seems to value the exposure right now more than a bigger paycheck. Ambitious for a man currently fighting an impossible battle against B.J. Mullens and Serge Ibaka for an NBA roster spot, but noble nonetheless.

Hardin takes a spot on the 66ers roster that previously belonged to former Oklahoma State point guard Byron Eaton. Eaton was assigned to the 66ers due to his local ties after he went undrafted in the past NBA draft, despite his senior season being his best ever season by quite a long way. His small size counted against him, as did his lack of three point jumpshot, and the fact that he just doesn't really have NBA talent.

Byron Eaton is best known as a basketball player for being fat. Measuring between 5-9 and 5-11, depending on whose measurements you believe, Eaton weighed over 240lbs in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, and if you're wondering what that looks like on a professional 5'10 athlete, then here's your answer:

David Monds replaces John Edwards at Kolossos Rhodes

John Edwards spent two years in the NBA. He signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State with the Pacers in 2004, played spot minutes in 25 games, and the Hawks signed him to an inexplicable two year, $2.08 million contract in the summer of 2005. After one year with Atlanta - in which he totalled 70 points, 48 rebounds and 76 fouls - the Hawks traded him back to the Pacers as filler in the Al Harrington deal. The Pacers then waived him, and after a training camp contract with the Timberwolves in 2007, that was it for John Edwards in the NBA.

Edwards has spent two of the last three years in the D-League, seemingly aware that the knock on him is his "rawness." Last year for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Edwards averaged 9.3 and 6.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game, fairly sedate numbers for a centre-starved league. Those numbers are particularly sedate when you consider that Edwards is now 28 years old. You can't be raw forever.

He did not return to the D-League this year, instead signing with Kolossos Rhodes in Greek's AI League. In theory, he was going to provide an NBA calibre frontcourt along with recent Heat draft pick, Robert Dozier. In practice, though, he's not been good. Edwards has played only 36 minutes on the entire season, totalling 12 points, 5 rebounds and 8 fouls. Now entering his physical prime, Edwards has never learnt how to stop fouling, has never dragged up his rebounding rate, and even though he's offensively inclined, he still can't score without a size advantage.

So Kolossos have released him in favour of recent Lakers camp invite and another D-League veteran, David Monds. Monds doesn't have Edwards' height, but he has strength, athleticism and poise. Poise counts for a lot.

By the way, I looked it up; David Monds does have two brothers, but they're called DeAndra and Trenton. Not Alfred and Diane, as you might have hoped.

Cartier Martin is the happiest man in the world

Last year, former Kansas State forward Cartier Martin started out in the D-League before earning an early call-up to the Charlotte Bobcats. He didn't play a whole lot, and when he did it's mainly because Larry Brown was using him as a defensive specialist (including occasionally guarding the point guard before Dontell Jefferson arrived), yet he spent the entire season with the team anyway.

This summer, he signed with Benetton Treviso in Italy, a team that started the year in the Euroleague. His team mates there include sure-fire lottery pick Donatas Motiejunas, as well as Gary Neal, Judson Wallace, Sandro Nicevic and Daniel Hackett. It was a decent team. However, from day one, Cartier Martin seemed unhappy. And he chose to document that unhappiness on Twitter.

Despite his account having the tag line of "I'm out here grindin and workin hard," Cartier never settled in Italy, and seemed to hate the place. He documented that hate with tweets such as:

"Not as good as I thought."

"Chilliin in this terrible hotel somewhere in Italy! How are we one of the top teams in Italy and we stay in hotels like this...TERRIBLE!"

"Man it's time to just say f*** it and shoot that bitch every time I touch it."

"it look like it's trashy out here"

"Man some things just aren't for certain ppl. That's how I'm feelin right now!"

"Man I can't even tell you how I really feel bout it on here. I need to be there tho."

"I'm not passing it all when I touch it...I'm putting it up everytime."

"I ain't doin nothing out here tho...I barely even play sometimes. Its cool tho..long as I get that bread."

"In weak ass Naples, Italy! I'm so ready to....." well as other, slightly more woe-is-me ones that seem to have been deleted. Probably best.

(His payoff tweet of "headed back home. I hate to say bye" seems kind of out of place after all that went before it.)

Perhaps mercifully, Martin left Benetton this week and returned to America. He is now a likely candidate to return to the D-League and look for another NBA call-up. Despite the massive pay decrease and the inferior standard of basketball on offer, Martin seems to really, really, REALLY want to play more games and less practices in accordance with American style, seemingly unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the European style of basketball that could mean only 25 minutes of playing time in an entire week. He'd rather be happy than rich.

And that's what it's all about, really.

Domen Lorbek returns to Slovenia.....briefly

Slovenian international swingman Domen Lorbek has signed back in his native country with Helios on a one month contract.

Until last week, Lorbek was with Cajasol Sevilla in Spain's ACB, averaging only 2.9 points in 8 games. He signed there only on a two month contract and it was not renewed when it expired, which doesn't seem surprising with that scoring average. Last year for Benetton Treviso, Lorbek averaged 8.8 points per game in the Eurocup and 6.0 ppg in SerieA, but he was replaced for this season by Cartier Martin. More on that in a moment, though.

Lorbek now signs with Helios just to stay in shape and earn some money while he looks for a more lucrative gig. It's a win win situation, because he becomes Helios' best player by quite a long way. Helios are currently second last in the Adriatic League with a 3-7 record, and are only 5th in the Slovenian league with a 4-3 record. So any reinforcement would be welcome right now.

Domen Lorbek is the young brother of former Pacers draft pick, Erazem Lorbek. The two are nothing alike. Erazem is a scoring big man, with a post game, a mid range jumpshot and the ability to drive the ball, and one of the better big men scorers on the continent. Domen is a decently sized wing player who is best as a catch and shoot specialist.

Erazem is better.

Spencer Nelson and Gary Wilkinson sign with Peristeri, who release two others

Despite a solid 3-2 start to the season, Greek A1 team Peristeri Athens announced that they were releasing former Illinois big man and Golden State Warriors camp invite Shaun Pruitt, as well as Rhode Island forward Will Daniels, to be replaced by Utah natives Spencer Nelson and Gary Wilkinson.

Nelson has not signed anywhere this season after being released by the Utah Jazz in training camp. It was rumoured that he was to sign with an unnamed Belgian team as of only last week, yet that's not going to happen now. Nelson played in Greece last year with Aris Thessaloniki, and averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds on the season. He's a tweener forward without any distinct position, but wherever he goes he rebounds, passes, and scores a bit with an inside/outside game.

This is Wilkinson's first professional season at the ripe old age of 27. (The reason for that is described here.) Wilkinson had spent the season today in the South Korean KBL, after being made the 11th overall pick in their draft this summer. He was averaging 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16 minutes per game for Dongbu Promy, splitting court time with their other American import, Marquin Chandler. (A silly KBL rule says that each team can have only two Americans, but the two can't play on the court at the same time.)

Peristeri haven't had much luck with their imports this year. They first signed Cedric Simmons, but had to release him in preseason after realising he was no good. Three of their other four American players - Jamie Arnold, Marcus Faison and Michael Bramos - all hold European passports (Israei, Belgian and Greek respectively), which absolves them of being counted as Americans. And the fourth (Cliff Hammonds) is doing OK, averaging 12.6 points and 3.4 assists on the season. (Greek teams are allowed a maximum of three American players, yet any American with an additional European passport does not count as one of them.)

By releasing Pruitt, Peristeri ridded themselves of their only real size inside, so clearly they think the two incoming forwards are skilled enough to be worth it. Pruitt and Daniels were both said to have been released for poor performance; Daniels had averaged 6.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 fouls per game, and Pruitt had totalled 5 points and 8 rebounds in only 24 minutes on the season.

Both Nelson and Wilkinson are Utah State graduates and practising Mormons. They share an agent, Ben Pensack. That's probably not going to be a coincidence, really.

As far as I can tell, this is China

Last year, we focused at length on the joy that is the Chinese Basketball Association. It's a quirky beast; the standard of China's own domestic players is pretty damn bad in the grand scheme of things, with the exception of the occasional halfway decent (or truly fantastic) big man. Knowing this, the CBA have decided to try and replicate a more American style of play in order to improve their national team product. They've changed some rules to match the NBA - for example, playing 48 minutes a game, and playing far more games than most leagues - and they've tried to increase the physical nature of the play. And a large part of doing that is attracting top tier American imports.

They're able to do this for the simple reason that they can compete financially. With salaries ranging from about $25-to-40 thousand a month - and sometimes more - CBA teams are able to sign fringe, former and future NBA talent where other leagues are unable to do so. If you were a fringe NBA player, would you rather earn $32,200 for an entire D-League season, or earn that for one month in China? It's clearly the latter, and that's how China is able to land such (relatively) premium talent consistently.

The exposure isn't bad, either, as Leon Rodgers demonstrated by getting a training camp contract with the Grizzlies based on his work in China last year. American players playing in the CBA are essentially guaranteed mahoosive statistics - as Rodgers demonstrated with his 35ppg scoring average last season - and mahoosive statistics tend to talk, no matter what the competition. So it befits them to go there. Having all these imports is not met with universal applause from the Chinese fans, many of who object to the largely selfish stat-stuffing play of many of the imports, and of their team's pamnpering to their imports statistics every need. But for us NBA fans mildly obsessed with the players on the fringes of our league, it's bloody awesome.

Last year's Chinese holiday makers include players such Olumide Oyedeji, Bonzi Wells, David Harrison and Smush Parker. Hundreds of games of NBA experience were on show, and to a man, they all put up staggeringly huge numbers. (That is, except for Corey Underwood. But, as I've since learnt, he had a torn up knee, which would explain it all.) However, Chinese Basketball Association transactions are amazingly hard to verify. There's no English version of the CBA's website, nor is there an English language fan site worth a damn. What news we can get of the transactions comes from either, player agents, crude translations, forum posters, Tweets, and the like. It's not an exact science, and therefore, it's really hard to know who's going where for next season.

However, after a few hours with Google translate, there follows the most accurate depiction of next year's CBA imports that I can compile. Nothing is guaranteed to be accurate, but this is the best I can do. Hope it works.

(Note: each franchise is allowed a maximum of two imports, so if more than two are listed, there's clearly a battle going on. Teams listed based on their finishing position last year.)

1. Guangdong - Smush Parker (confirmed), David Harrison

2. Xinjiang - Myron Allen, Juan Mendez, Sam Hoskin

3. Jiangsu - DerMarr Johnson (tryout), Jameel Watkins, Ansu Sesay (rumoured), Donell Harvey (originally signed, but reportedly had a pay dispute, and will not returb), Gerald Green (rumoured, then club refused), Loren Woods (same)

4. Shaanxi - Corsley Edwards, Tim Pickett

5. DongGuan - Will Conroy (confirmed), Dajuan Tate (confirmed), Alexander Johnson (rumoured, but the other two seem confirmed)

6. Fujian - Peter John Ramos (tried out but failed to make the team), Chris Porter, Jelani McCoy, DerMarr Johnson (worked out but did not sign), Jamal Sampson (worked out but did not sign)

7. Zhejiang Lions - Rodney White, Peter John Ramos (another tryout)

8. Shandong - Andre Emmett, Stromile Swift

9. Beijing - James Mays, Cedric Bozeman, DerMarr Johnson (rumoured), Jamal Sampson (tried out but did not sign)

10. Shanxi - Lee Benson (negotiations reportedly broken off), Donta Smith, Ansu Sesay, Maurice Taylor (currently injured, which won't help), Lorenzen Wright (worked out, has been reported to have signed for both Shanxi and Liaoning), Olumide Oyedeji. Also offered contracts to both Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury in the summer. The other four appear to be battling for two spots.

11. Bayi - This team does not want to have imports. Not sure why.

12. Liaoning - Virginijus Praškevičius, Lorenzen Wright, Courtney Sims (tried out but did not impress), DerMarr Johnson (same)

13. Jilin - Leon Rodgers (confirmed), Soumaila Samake (confirmed), Tim Pickett (negotiated before signing with Shaanxi)

14. Zhejiang Cyclones - Soumaila Samake (eventually signed with Jilin), Andre Brown, Marcus E. Williams, Kamran Jamshidvand

15. TianJin - Herve Lamizana, Brandon Crump, Rony Fahed

16. Qingdao - Sabah Khoury, Frans Steyn, Chris Williams

18. Shanghai - John Lucas III (confirmed), Garret Siler (confirmed), Tim Pickett (worked out but did not sign), Zaid Abbaas, Paul Davis (rumoured, but seemingly only a rumour)

(The 17th placed team from last year, Yunnan, have folded. Also, Frank Robinson and Mario West tried out for multiple Chinese teams, but I can't tell for whom.)

As mention earlier, the above is not guaranteed to be accurate. Far from it, in fact. Try-outs are often reported as signings, some reports are false, and many moves just aren't reported at all. Piecing it together is a tough ask, and only once the players take the court will we really know who's there and who isn't.

But at the very least, those are your names in contention.

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