Al Jefferson, the veteran big man who just wrapped up his 14th NBA season, has decided to take his talents overseas, rather than return to continue playing for the Indiana Pacers. According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Jefferson has agreed to a deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. Over the course of his NBA career, Jefferson averaged 15.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. This move by the Flying Tigers fits the Chinese Basketball Association’s traditional tactics of offering former big-name NBA players relatively large contracts in order to draw attention to the CBA. The most interesting part about this signing is the fact that earlier this week, there were reports that the Flying Tigers were willing to also offer Dwyane Wade a relatively well-paying contract to join the CBA. Adam Wells of Bleacher Report wrote on July 21st, 2018, that reporter Zhang Duo in China has caught wind of the Flying Tigers preparing a “monster” contract offer for Wade. Some food for thought; does the Jefferson signing mean no more Dwyane Wade to China rumors, or does the signing of Jefferson only peak Wade’s interest more?
(image courtesy of ClutchPoints.com)
In other CBA news, former NBA champion Lamar Odom has also reached an agreement to join the Chinese league. Although Odom has not officially confirmed which team he will be playing for, he did name Stephon Marbury as his “inspiration” for the decision in a recent Instagram post. If Odom’s post is any indication that he will follow in the exact footsteps of Marbury, fans can expect him to have a strong interest in playing for the Shanxi Brave Dragons, Foshan Dralions, or the Beijing Fly Dragons (the Foshan Dralions are now the Guangzhou Long-Lions, because I’m absolutely sure that’s what the first thing on your mind was while reading that last sentence). Lamar Odom has most recently been in the news for being found unconscious in a Las Vegas brothel with, among other drugs, cocaine in his system, causing him to have to be hospitalized. In 2017, Odom wrote a piece for the Players’ Tribune in which he described his newfound sobriety as “an everyday struggle”. From 2012-2013, Odom’s last NBA season, Lamar played for the Clippers and averaged 4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 19.7 minutes per game.
(image courtesy of usmagazine.com)