The Chinese Basketball Association likes them some Denver Nuggets. Not long after it was reported that Wilson Chandler signed a deal to play in China (meaning he won’t be back in the NBA until March or April at the earliest…when the CBA season ends), Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports J.R. Smith is close to signing a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in CBA history.
Smith would play this season with Shanxi and make over $3 million, but would not have an opt-out clause and would probably give up the chance to pursue unrestricted free agency whenever the NBA lockout does end.
Still, with the new rulings in the CBA forbidding them from signing NBA players to opt-out clauses, Smith wouldn’t be able to get back into the NBA until April, it at all this season.
This could mean Denver’s depth takes another blow. Last season after the Carmelo trade, that was the largest strength of their team. Now with the possibility of two of their most talented swingmen leaving, Nugget fans should worry.
But check out what Matt Moore of CBSSports.com had to say:
But there are those who think that the Chinese teams will get around this simply by having an under the table agreement to release the player in the event of a lockout resolution. Consider this. The CBA season begins on November 20th and runs through March. If the NBA started in January as many have predicted or February as was the case in the 1999 lockout, Smith would have made up to $1.5 million for two to three months of work, then get “released” for whatever reason the team wants to invent, at which point Smith signs his new lucrative free agency contract, including a prorated amount for the lockout.
Do you think J.R. Smith is banking on the season being lost? Or is he going to risk it to become one of the biggest stars in China, and take his chances that somehow he can find his way back into the NBA this season?
Should he do it?
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