Al Harrington Leaves China Amid NBA Interest

China’s Fujian Sturgeons have signed DJ White to replace Al Harrington, who has opted out of his contract, the team announced (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Harrington left the team to pursue “immediate NBA offers,” according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link), and the GM of the Sturgeons acknowledged that the NBA was a possibility for Harrington as he spoke to reporters, Carchia writes. Still, it’s unclear which NBA teams have interest in the 34-year-old power forward. Many former NBA players who sign to play in China are bound to their respective clubs for the abbreviated Chinese season, but the deal that Harrington inked in August contained an out clause, according to Evan Wang of Hupu.com (Twitter link). The terms of the deal for White aren’t immediately clear.

Harrington was in fine form in the early going this season for Fujian, averaging 32.8 points and 10.8 rebounds with 37.5% three-point shooting in 38.7 minutes per game. The 16-year NBA veteran said in August that he had drawn interest from some non-contending NBA teams but that he hoped to re-sign with the Wizards, the team he played for last season, when he returned from China. The Wizards have a full 15-man roster, but they have Glen Rice Jr. on a partially guaranteed deal, and Rasual Butler‘s contract is non-guaranteed. Nene, who plays Harrington’s position, is dealing with plantar fasciitis in right foot, as Todd Dybas of The Washington Times notes, though the team doesn’t expect the injury to keep him out for long. Harrington struggled to find playing time last year with the Wizards after spending most of 2012/13 recovering from the effects of a staph infection that he contracted while undergoing knee surgery in April 2012. The Dan Fegan client was a key cog for the Nuggets prior to the operation, averaging 14.2 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 27.5 MPG during the 2011/12 season.

White, whose one-month deal with Spain’s Laboral Kuxta expired a few weeks ago, had reportedly been looking for a chance to latch on with an NBA team, but he’ll instead return to China, where he spent much of the previous two seasons. He’s been able to parlay his Chinese stints into NBA work both years, joining the Celtics at the end of the 2012/13 season and the Hornets (then Bobcats) last spring.

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