Wilson Chandler recently helped his CBA team, the Zhejiang Lions, clinch a playoff spot, but it doesn't appear he'll be around for the team's postseason run. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Chandler is scheduled to return to America as early as next week, even though the CBA playoffs don't get underway until Wednesday.
Chandler, like other players who signed in China during the lockout, was expected to honor his contract and play until his CBA team finished its season. However, Stein hears that the DePaul product may have essentially been granted permission to miss the playoffs if he helped the Lions get there.
Even if Chandler returns next week, he'll still need to be granted a FIBA letter of clearance before he can officially sign with an NBA team. It's unclear whether the CBA would be willing to grant Chandler clearance before the Lions' season ends, though sources tell Stein the league may be more inclined to do so if the 24-year-old plays in the CBA's All-Star Game this weekend.
Chandler, who will be a restricted free agent upon returning, is reportedly weighing whether to sign with the Nuggets long-term or sign for the rest of the season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. While we've heard before of Chandler's intentions to re-sign with the Nuggets one way or the other, that decision could become more complicated if he's cleared to return to the NBA by the end of the month. Since teams aren't permitted to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets after March 1st, it appeared Denver would be Chandler's only option, but returning early could open up a few more opportunities for him.