After signing Orien Greene for a playoff run that will start tonight at home against top-seeded Xinjiang, Beijing has learned that its freshly arrived import won’t be allowed to play in the CBA after FIBA has extended Greene’s two-year suspension from all FIBA competitions, which started on March 12, 2009, through July.
Greene, who has been in the country as of Friday, had been awaiting FIBA’s verdict since arriving in Beijing and thus hasn’t practiced with his new team. Greene’s suspension was handed down by FIBA in June 2010 after it was determined that the ex-Florida Gator tampered with a urine sample while playing professionally for a team in the Netherlands.
Understood by both Greene and Beijing that the suspension, which was handed down retroactively starting on March 12th 2009, would expire eleven days ago on Saturday, March 12th, Ducks management went ahead and paid Greene’s $45,000 buyout fee to the NBA D-League. Since league rules only allow two non-Asian import players per team, Beijing cut Joe Crawford to make room.
However, upon arrival the team learned that Greene’s contract was being held up by FIBA because of Greene’s failure to follow the rules of the suspension. Both the NBA D-League and the NBA are registered FIBA leagues, and by playing for the Utah Flash and the New Jersey Nets within that two year suspension period, Greene was ruled by the world’s basketball governing body to have violated the terms of his suspension.
Greene will be able to appeal, but really there’s no point: The paperwork, processing and ruling will all take weeks and even if FIBA’s decision is reversed, it will likely come until after the playoffs are over. Greene is now back in the United States.
But, talking with a source with knowledge of the situation, FIBA’s decision to prolong Greene’s suspension comes under questionable circumstances. If Greene isn’t allowed to play in the CBA which is a professional league registered under FIBA, then why was signed off to play in the D-League and the NBA, which are also registered FIBA leagues? What at least on the surface seems like a major inconsistency in FIBA’s logic has seemingly cost Greene a job.
“Somebody messed up,” the source said.
Beijing hosts Xinjiang tonight at home in the first-round opener at 7:30pm. Without Greene in the lineup, Beijing will have to go up against the 31-1 Flying Tigers with just Randolph Morris as its lone non-Asian import.