With their patience finally worn after a string of perceived broken promises and unreasonable demands, the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions have given up in their attempts to sign Rafer Alston after their 48 hour deadline has passed without a firm decision from the 11 year NBA point-guard.
According to the Hangzhou Daily, Alston’s agent asked for another three days to to decide on signing with Zhejiang, a request that was denied by the team’s GM, Ye Xiangyu:
“His time is up, we can’t wait any longer. I said [to him and his agent] waiting another three days is impossible, the most we can wait is another hour. But, after that hour passed they didn’t answer. So we’re not going to wait any longer.”
The article says part of the reason why Alston engaged in stall tactics was in order to entertain higher offers from other teams. Ye firmly stated in the article that Zhejiang was never interested in offering a bigger contract.
Alston’s venture into China, which seemed very optimistic just a couple of weeks ago, crumbled quickly after he reportedly missed his plane to Shanghai to visit with team officials and get a tour of the team’s home city of Hangzhou. Afterwards, he further compounded tensions by refusing to talk directly with Zhejiang management and demanding to play with former Houston Rocket teammate, Maurice Taylor. As most teams already have at least one import under contract for next year, including Zhejiang, Alston’s demand to play with Taylor was essentially impossible to fulfill.
Alston is not just losing out on a contract, but also on a deal that would have put him in similar footing with China’s newest foreign basketball sneaker entrepreneur, Stephon Marbury. Like Marbury, Skip had a deal in place to develop his own business brand in addition to receiving an annual salary. With his history with the Houston Rockets and Chinese megastar, Yao Ming, along with his added reputation for also being “Skip to my Lou,” Alston may have been in a good position to market himself on the mainland.
Yet with the situation likely to remain as is until Alston comes down on his demands, any ideas of Alston battling Marbury for the hearts of Chinese fans on the court and their wallets off the court Chinese will have be put off indefinitely.