WEDNESDAY, 8:40am: Seven-year NBA veteran John Lucas III has called off a scheduled workout with the Lakers this week to sign with a Chinese team instead, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Sportando’s Enea Trapani first reported that Lucas was finalizing a deal in China, and while the identity of the club isn’t entirely clear, Trapani suggests that it’s the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, who just let go of Delonte West. The financial terms of the Chinese pact for Lucas are unclear, but it likely involves guaranteed money of the sort that the Lakers would be hesitant to offer.
Lucas turned down offers from Chinese Basketball Association teams Jilin Northeast and Fujian, as agent Bernie Lee told Shams Charania of RealGM earlier this month, shortly after the Wizards released him at the end of the NBA preseason. The Thunder, Pacers and Grizzlies were showing interest in the point guard, too, as Charania reported, adding that Lucas was looking for a longer-term arrangement than any Chinese or NBA teams were willing to provide. Lucas appeared to be targeting a return to the Bulls, for whom he played in 2010/11 and 2011/12, but it doesn’t look like there’ll be a reunion in the near future.
It’s been a whirlwind past few months for Lucas, who turns 32 on Thursday. The Jazz had him under contract for a non-guaranteed $1.6MM at the beginning of the offseason, but they traded him to the Cavs in July. Cleveland flipped him two months later to the Celtics, who promptly waived him. The Wizards picked him up in late October, presumably with an eye on keeping him for the start of the regular season, but Washington put him back on waivers before opening night.
Reports have indicated the Lakers are working out Quincy Miller, Tyrus Thomas and Dwight Buycks as they seek upgrades for their 2-9 squad. Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding suggested this week that Xavier Henry would be the odd man out if Miller came aboard, though Henry has a guaranteed salary. Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington have partially guaranteed deals. In any case, the Lakers would have to let someone go if they were to make a signing, since they already have a full 15-man roster.