Last year's lockout prompted many NBA players without contracts to jump to a league they might not have otherwise considered. Chinese Basketball Association teams don't allow their imports from overseas an out in case the NBA comes calling, but with the 2011/12 season in doubt, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Aaron Brooks and a handful of others took the chance and signed to play in China.
The lockout ended in December, but since the Chinese league's season ends much earlier than the NBA's, the prominent Americans playing in China were able to come back stateside. The gamble paid off particularly well for Chandler, who inked a five-year, $31.72MM deal with the Nuggets upon his return.
Even without the specter of the lockout this season, the CBA has continued to funnel talent to the NBA, with the early end to its schedule a key factor. No team took advantage quite like the Celtics, who brought three players over from China when injuries depleted their roster. Here's a look at all the players who wound up in the NBA after playing in the CBA this season:
- Shavlik Randolph, Celtics: After pouring in 32.0 PPG and 14.5 RPG for the Foshan Long Lions, Boston signed Randolph to a pair of 10-day contracts and a deal that covers the rest of the season and beyond. The power forward was the CBA's leading scorer and third-leading rebounder in 2012/13.
- Josh Akognon, Mavericks: The 5'11" guard parlayed 29.0 PPG and four made three-pointers per contest for the Liaoning Jiebao Hunters into a 10-day contract with the Mavericks, who re-signed him to a deal for the rest of this season with a team option for next year.
- Solomon Jones, Knicks: Akognon's Liaoning teammate put up 15.8 PPG and 10.4 RPG, and that got him a deal with the Knicks. It didn't last long, as the Knicks waived him two games and less than 72 hours later.
- Terrence Williams, Celtics: Williams was the first of Boston's three China refugees to sign for the rest of the season and beyond, even though his numbers for the Guangdong Southern Tigers weren't eye-popping. He averaged 17.9 PPG and 4.1 APG, and shot worse from the field (42%) and from three-point range (31.7%) than he has with Boston.
- Tracy McGrady, Spurs: San Antonio followed up its surprising release of Stephen Jackson with McGrady's unexpected signing this week. The two-time NBA scoring champ showed an all-around game for the Qingdao Double Star Eagles, racking up 25.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 5.1 APG.
- D.J. White, Celtics: Gilbert Arenas, White's teammate on the Shanghai Sharks, carries much more starpower, but White was the Chinese team's leading scorer this season, at 21.6 PPG. He also notched 9.7 RPG en route to a pair of 10-day contracts with the Celtics, who ultimately signed him for the rest of the season with a team option for 2013/14.
- Honorary mention: James Singleton of the Xinjiang Flying Tigers had an agreement in place to sign with the Knicks last week, but the Tigers had trouble arranging his FIBA letter of clearance, which is required when players jump between leagues in different countries. That prevented Singleton's deal with the Knicks from coming to fruition.