With a little over a week to week to go before the start of the 2011-12 season, Qingdao Double Star, the league’s only remaining team without a full import roster, made two big moves yesterday.
In a surprise move, the Eagles announced the signing of guard Lester Hudson, according to Sohu Sports. Hudson, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 60th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, came over to Guangdong Hongyuan mid-season last year after the team parted ways with Fred Jones. The move paid off — with the help of Hudson, Guangdong won its fourth straight championship.
In the same stroke, Qingdao also has cut ties with center Jarron Collins, who they had signed in the end of October. As for a reason, head coach Jiang Zhengxiu said simply that he “wasn’t the type of player we needed.” According to Sohu, the team is in discussions with five-year NBA pro and former lottery pick, Ike Diogu. Diogu played for the Los Angeles Clippers last season averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 13 minutes a game.
If Diogu comes, he should be a good fit for the Eagles. Remember that last year, before settling on the combo of Hudson and Marcus Haislip, Guangdong had originally planned on bringing Diogu over. But at the last second, the Clippers stepped in and signed the former Arizona State Sun Devil for the rest of the season, which ultimately opened the door up for Haislip.
On paper, Diogu and Hudson are a good combination and Qingdao is fortunate that they were able to sign two high quality imports this late in the game. They are not, however, at least in our eyes, smart. Because if they were, they would have never even considered Collins in the first place. Collins joins Jermaine Taylor and Earl Clark on the list of players who didn’t make it to start of the regular season.
It’s worked out nonetheless, so it seems. Combined with Asian import Sakakini Sani, who played well in the NBL this summer for Guangdong Free Man, and Qingdao might be able to overcome its weak Chinese roster to get in the playoff mix. At this point though, that’s all secondary to the awesome fact that there’s a team named “Free Man” in the NBL. Let’s get more of that, please.
Last season, Qingdao finished in 15th place with a 10-22 record.