Wilson Chandler said he has signed a contract with the Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association, a move that would essentially preclude him from participating in the 2011-12 NBA season if the lockout ends and the games begin.
The Chinese Basketball Association will not allow players with existing contracts to sign with its teams, so playing in China is only an option for free agents such as Chandler, a restricted free agent who finished the 2010-11 season with the Denver Nuggets.
In addition, the CBA will not allow escape clauses that would allow players to leave the Chinese league in the event the NBA resumes operations. So Chandler would not be a part of the NBA if the season begins on time or even with an abbreviated schedule starting in January or February.
“Maybe I’ll lose out,” Chandler said. “But I think it can be a great experience. I haven’t been in any [labor negotiation] meetings. I can’t call it. I’m just taking a risk, at the end of the day.”
Chandler, who averaged over 15 points per game last season but had a horrible playoffs, is one of the first NBA players to effectively give up hope of playing in the NBA due to the possibility of a lockout. Time will tell if Chandler’s move pays off or not, but this could provide some insight as to how pessimistic some players are about the current state of the CBA negotiations.