Some interesting and important news for fantasy owners to take into account when working on their draft cheat sheets (and you ARE working on your cheat sheets, right? RIGHT?): According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Chinese Basketball Association is not going to let NBA players out of their contracts, and thus restrict players such as Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith from playing in the NBA until March, when the Chinese season ends.
Chandler, Smith, Kenyon Martin and Aaron Brooks are the relevant names in China right now. Brooks curiously signed his deal on Nov. 17, and is now stuck. Chandler and Brooks are currently under contract with the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, respectively, while Smith and Martin are unrestricted free agents.
Chandler is dominating in China right now, but he no doubt wants to get back on the court against the best competition as he makes a bid for a long-term contract as a restricted free agent. From a fantasy perspective, Chandler was set to be the Nuggets’ sixth man and a potential fantasy starter this year. The notoriously-volatile Smith hasn’t disappointed from a drama perspective in China thus far, and he’s not for the feint of heart in fantasy drafts even in a good situation. Martin was likely headed to a contender in a part-time role, and he probably wouldn’t have been worthy of being drafted in shallow leagues. Brooks, also a restricted free agent, only has fantasy value as a handcuff to Steve Nash.
There’s little doubt that Chandler’s extended absence from the Nuggets is good news for both Arron Afflalo’s and Danilo Gallinari’s fantasy prospects. With Denver losing both Martin and, likely, Nene to free agency, it will be interesting to see what the Nuggets do with their frontcourt situation.