I've definitely heard of the Detroit Lions, but I'm not too familiar with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball League. Wilson Chandler, allegedly of the Denver Nuggets, will get to know the ins-and-outs of basketball across the pond with his bold move to China. As Chandler tweeted late Tuesday night, "dare to be diff [sic]" ... things could be different indeed, especially if the Lions face the Bayi Rockets - the team that brawled with the Georgetown Hoyas earlier this month.
I had such high hopes when Chandler was obtained from the New York Knicks near the trade deadline. I watched quite a few Knicks games, doing some scouting of the rumored names of the megadeal that sure to happen any day during the first half of the 2010-11 Nuggets campaign.
While it took me a little while to jump on board with Danilo Gallinari, Chandler was different. You could see that Ill-Will played the game with almost a complete natural feel - like he was just made to play basketball. And once he was traded to the Nuggets I was happy to report to you all that I had received an email from a local New York area blogger, praising Chandler's deeds off the basketball court.
The Knick player actually showed up to play barber for a day at a local shop in the NY to help raise money for a little girl stricken with cancer. The event didn't get much publicity and it was nice to know that the Nuggets were getting such a selfless player.
I'm making it sound like Chandler is gone for good, but the only blueprint I have for this dilemma is that of former Nugget Linas Kleiza from 2009. Kleiza, like Chandler, was facing restricted free agency and chose to go play overseas for Olympiakos rather than sign a meager (by NBA standards) deal with the Nuggets. Yes, the Nuggets retained L.K.'s rights, but when he came back in 2010 - instead of signing with the Nuggets, he opted for a 4-year $20 million deal with the Toronto Raptors. Kleiza never played for the Nuggets again, and I fear that 24 year-old Chandler might do the same ...
Tom Zillar of Sactown Royalty discusses Chandler and states that Wilson has set a, "precedent for restricted free agents."
And for all of my thoughts on the Chandler-saga check out my thoughts on the Colorado Sports Guys podcast (available for free on iTunes). Not only do we talk about Wilson Chandler and some of the other Nuggets that are, and will be, playing overseas, but we discuss our Top 5 Favorite Current Pro Athletes in Colorado and three Denver Nuggets make the cut. I do the CSG podcast with Ross Martin and we have the guys on from the Ralphie Report to discuss the upcoming season for the Colorado Buffaloes, as well.
It's crazy to think that Chandler might not be back with the Nuggets, but he will be earning some nice cash this season ... somewhere in the $1.7-$3.1 million range.
Wilson Chandler's Chinese contract runs until sometime in mid-March. We all know the season stretches into the first couple weeks of April and according to this article, click here, Chandler might be eligible to re-join the Nuggets for a post-season run - provided the following:
"Spend at least one game on the roster prior to the postseason and you’re playoff eligible, provided you were not on another team’s roster beyond Match [sic] 1.
"The most famous better-late-than-never example is center Charles Jones, who signed with the Houston Rockets on April 22, 1995, played in the regular-season finale against the Utah Jazz, and went on to win a championship ring that year."Read the rest of the article here, and I assume the above error of "Match" should be March 1st
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