Will he stay or will he go? Go, probably
Updated: 2012-02-17 07:44
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
BEIJING - Even Wilson Chandler's agents can't agree on whether he'll play in the CBA All-Star Game and playoffs.
But even though his American representative wouldn't confirm it on Thursday, it seems likely Chandler is headed back to the US.
After the Zhejiang Lions finished the regular season with a victory over the Beijing Ducks on Wednesday night, Chinese media begain reporting the former Denver Nugget had decided to opt out of the remainder of his contract with the Lions and would return the US before the NBA trading deadline on March 1.
The small forward's American agent, Chris Luchey, had vowed Chandler would play. But he changed his tone on Thursday, saying nothing had been decided.
"We are in Shanghai for our off day. We have not finalized anything yet," Luchey told China Daily through text message on Thursday morning.
The answer from Chandler's Chinese agent, Zhao Gang, was far more solid.
"No, he won't play (in the playoffs or All-Star Game)," Zhao told China Daily before Luchey's response was received.
Lions officials said the team won't force the restricted free agent to fulfill his deal.
"We prefer to let him make the decision. If he wants to continue with his duties here, we'll be happy. But if he wants to leave, we will release him, as he might play with a bad mood in the playoff if we keep him compulsively," Lions general manager Ye Xiangyu told Zhejiang media after talking with other team executives on Wednesday night.
Although he's called his China adventure a "lifetime experience", Chandler seems ready to return to the US. There are six teams, including the Nuggets, reportedly ready to offer him contracts.
"Now six squad want him and if he missed the transferring period that ends on March 1, he will have to sign with Denver with no other choices. We understand his feeling right now and we know we couldn't keep his mind even if we retained him," Ye said.
Neither Luchey would Zhao discuss a potential return date or where Chandler would prefer to sign.
"Not decided yet," Zhao said.
Chandler had said previously that he was excited to be named to the All-Star team.
"It is truly an honor after such a tough season with many great players. It is an honor to be rewarded at the end," he said. "In the US it is like a national holiday, very important, many people come watch, support or just be a part of the events that surround the All-Star experience."
Chandler also said Stephon Marbury was the player he was personally most excited to watch.
"I believe Stephon because he has participated in the All-Star events here in the past," Chandler said.
"He is the veteran, myself and J.R. are guys that are just learning the ropes."
(China Daily 02/17/2012 page22)