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Steve Francis all set to sign a one-year deal with Beijing

Steve Francis is coming to a stadium near you starting on December 12th.  That is, if you live in China.  Or more specifically, if you live in Xinjiang, China, where his new team the Beijing Shougang Ducks, will open their season on the road against the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.

The Beijing Youth Daily reported late Tuesday night that Steve Francis and the Ducks  have agreed in principle to a one-year deal after the two sides came together on a general contract late last night.

Beijing and Francis had been engaged in several rounds of talks over the last few weeks, with both sides sending contract proposals back and forth from China and the States.  Up until yesterday, however, the two sides had been unable to come to an agreement, despite mutual interest from both sides.  A CBA source speaking to NiuBBall anonymously said that negotiations have been largely problematic, with both sides unwilling to change their stances over so called ‘special provisions’ that the three-time NBA All-Star are asking for.  At the forefront of these provisions are clauses involving business cooperations and brand sponsorships that would allow Francis to market himself to China’s booming basketball market.

In the face of Francis’ continued demands for these provisions, Beijing has been unwilling to guarantee anything in that regard, citing both league rules that restrict certain player-team business deals, and the team’s limited financial structure for this year.  The Ducks finished 15th out 17th last year and are hesitant to invest heavily into a single foreign player.

Though that end contract negotiations has yet to be resolved, Francis has agreed to play in the capital this season.

“Regarding the problem of Francis joining Beijing, right now you could say it’s pretty much done.  We’ve come to an agreement on a contract,” said general manager Yuan Chao.  “But, there’s still one problem: Francis says he has a business contract, probably its some assistance provisions.  We’ve already notified him that the CBA has some brand restrictions.”

With a contract yet to be formally signed, Yuan was reluctant to give out official figures on Francis’ salary.  But, he did say that the nine year NBA pro will not be among the league’s highest paid imports, nor will he be signed to a multi-year deal.

“Francis is hoping for a two-year deal, but we definitely can’t agree to that.  This is something we’ve always stood by.  He’ll first sign for year, then if both parties choose to do so, he’ll sign again.”

“I can only say that Francis’ salary certainly won’t be the highest among imports in the CBA, and not even among the top few in the league.”

Francis will link up with former Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks center, Randolph Morris, who was signed by Beijing in October.  The Franchise joins an already impressive list of former NBA players who have signed to play in China this season, including Stephon Marbury, Ricky Davis, Mike James, Javaris Crittenton, James Singleton, Quincy Douby and Josh Boone.

As we are based in Beijing, you can bet that NiuBBall will be all over Francis, the Ducks and the rest of the league this season.  Make sure to check back with us frequently for updates and analysis throughout the CBA season this year.

In the meantime, lets queue it up… Beijing welcomes you, Steve!  And if you’re not familiar with the official anthem of the 2008 Olympics, you’re damn right thats Jackie Chan at 1:07:

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