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Jamal Crawford To China? Xinjiang Flying Tigers Showing Interest

With the 2011-12 NBA season in jeopardy, more players are going to turn their attention to opportunities overseas. Atlanta Hawks free agent Jamal Crawford is drawing interest from China's Xinjiang Flying Tigers who already employ former Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin. Further fueling the rumors is that Crawford now shares agents with Martin who negotiated his deal with Xinjiang. 

The biggest challenge facing Chinese teams from luring NBA talent is that league rules don't allow them to sign players already under contract with another team. That limits their scope to NBA free agents like Crawford. Thus far the biggest name free agents that have signed in China are J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler. Further complicating matters is the Chinese rule that no team can offer a player an NBA opt out clause in any contract. That basically locks a player into staying with the Chinese club for the duration of the season regardless of what happens with the NBA. 

A player signing in China would only be able to return to the NBA this season if his Chinese team released him from his contract. A team like Xinjiang that has championship aspirations may be reluctant to go that route. 

For more on Jamal Crawford and the Atlanta Hawks, be sure to check out Peachtree Hoops 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.