(Photo: Boston Herald via Red’s Army)
For NBA fans who have always pined to see the Chinese Basketball Association, but have few if any opportunities to watch it outside of China, you’re in luck: The Boston Celtics have signed most of the league’s foreign player population to their NBA roster over the last week.
China-to-Boston speculation was rife in Celtics-land after Doc Rivers was quoted last month saying the team was looking at signing a player out of the CBA when its season ended. Turns out, they were looking at several players. After signing Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract, who played most of the season with the first-place Guangdong Southern Tigers before being replaced by Donald Sloan just before the post-season, the Celtics have followed up by signing D.J. White (Shanghai Sharks) and Shavlik Randolph (Foshan Long Lions) to two other 10-days.
While it’s a little surprising that one team has signed three players with Chinese experience this season, the fact that teams are looking across the Pacific Ocean for late-season help is a continuing trend that started two years ago.
Apparently not impressed enough with the best record in the league, the Guangdong Southern Tigers have made a big roster change on the eve of the post-season.
Former Texas A&M standout, Donald Sloan, has officially replaced Terrence Williams and has already joined up with his new team in DongGuan. Sloan, who started the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was waived in late December where he went to the D-League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. After a brief stint there, he was signed to a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Hornets, which was not extended upon completion.
Sloan, whose registration is reportedly not yet completed, is questionable for tonight’s home game against Shandong.
Though this season has been full of surprises in Guangdong, the move to replace Williams was not one of them. According to sources, head coach Jonas Kazlauskas has been keen to make a switch since arriving as he has been preferable towards having a foreign guard as opposed to wing player. The 25-year old Sloan, who excels at getting to the basket and dishing out to teammates, should fit Kazlauskas’ bill nicely. With Yi Jianlian and Ike Diogu up front, as well as the sharp-shooting combo of Wang Shipeng and Zhu Fangyu on the perimeter, the Southern Tigers are likely to cause even more problems for opponents if they go to the Euro-styled spread sets that their Lithuanian coach favors.
In 29 games, Williams averaged 17.9 points and 4.1 assists.
Guangdong has two more games on its regular season schedule, Shandong at home tonight and Foshan again at home on Sunday.