December 19, 2011
When NBA players signed deals with Chinese teams during the lockout, the agreement was for the whole season no matter if the NBA figured out its labor situation or not. Player agents knew that and some steered their clients clear of signing such deals.
However, a few signed on, including Kenyon Martin. And now it appears that his team, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, is considering allowing him to ditch out of his deal in China in order to head back to North America. Sources to ESPN say "that only the threat of serious sanctions from Chinese league officials for releasing a player of Martin's stature in-season, including the potential forfeiture of games, has stopped Xinjiang from making the move already."
The site hears that Flying Tigers are so "frustrated with the team's slow start" that it is considering releasing Martin and seeing just how much trouble it gets into with the CBA. If that were to happen, it could open the door for other NBA players in China, such as Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Aaron Brooks, to make the same move.
Last season, Martin averaged 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for the Denver Nuggets.
Update: Martin has severed ties with the Flying Tigers but won't be cleared to return to the NBA until the Chinese season is over, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.