Martin returns to NBA
Updated: 2012-02-05 08:52
Los Angeles - Could this spell trouble for the Chinese Basketball Association?
The Los Angeles Clippers signed Kenyon Martin on Friday, the free agent forward returning to the NBA after a stint with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the CBA.
Kenyon Martin was cleared by FIBA to play in the NBA despite his CBA deal.
After leaving the Tigers in December, he was required to wait until their CBA campaign was over before he could join any NBA team.
But the Los Angeles Times reported he had been cleared to return to the NBA by world governing body FIBA.
Hoping to avoid an exodus in the event of the NBA ending its lockout, the CBA implemented rules last summer requiring foreign players to stay for at least the full season.
It was left to FIBA to enforce the rule. Several other players have reportedly been interested in returning to the NBA. With the All-Star Game and playoffs looming, it's unclear if FIBA's ruling would open the door for them to do so.
The 34-year-old Martin averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds last season in Denver.
The deal reunites him with former Nuggets teammate Chauncey Billups, now a guard with the Clippers.
Martin also has a home in Los Angeles.
"Kenyon is the ultimate competitor and a key acquisition," Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said in a statement posted on the club's website.
"We expect that he will provide additional experience, passion and professionalism, as well as some important depth to our front court."
Martin is expected to join the Clippers on their current road trip in Orlando. The Clippers stuck with club policy and did not announce terms of the deal, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Martin inked a one-year contract for $2.5 million.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said the 34-year-old veteran, who has played 654 NBA games with New Jersey and Denver, will give the team more depth.
"Kenyon gives us another dimension," Del Negro told the Times as the team traveled to Washington, where they were to launch their road trip on Saturday.
"He gives us some more depth up front, which we needed."