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Mavericks free agent Wang Zhizhi has not reported to China for mandatory national team training, and not contacted the Mavericks since the end of the season, leading NBA sources to speculate that Wang's rebellion against the Chinese government may end in defection to the United States.

But Wang's adviser said he is safe in Los Angeles, has no current plans to renounce his Chinese citizenship, and wants to participate in the NBA's summer league - all of which the Chinese Basketball Association has been informed of, he said.

The twisting and multisided tale has implications beyond Wang and the Mavericks. Wang is the first Chinese player in the NBA and therefore the pioneer for future negotiations with the country - which include the possible top pick in this year's draft, 7-5 center Yao Ming.

Not only is Wang's future in the NBA in jeopardy with his failure to comply to China's demands, NBA sources said, but Yao's future becomes murkier.

Both Wang and the Mavericks have received letters from the CBA demanding that the basketball player return to China per the agreement Wang signed when he first received permission to play for the Mavericks in 2001, but the Mavericks cannot locate Wang.

"We have called and gone to Wang Zhizhi's house every day, at least twice a day to try to locate him," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "We have been unable to do so for the past several weeks. We do not know where he is, or how to get ahold of him."

Wang has missed two CBA-imposed deadlines to return to China, NBA sources said. Simon Chan, Wang's new U.S.-based adviser, said his client is working out in Los Angeles and preparing for summer league play.

"He thought he could play in the summer league and improve, and this would help out the [Chinese] national team," Chan said. "He would be matched up against NBA-type players. For him to stay here, he has to take advantage of this summer and work on strength and conditioning."

Cuban said Wang discussed during the season the possibility of playing on the Mavericks' summer league team, but that discussion ended quickly when the Mavericks learned that Wang would be required to return to China immediately at the conclusion of the NBA season for national team training. "It never occurred to us that he wouldn't do what he was asked, or what the possible consequences might be," Cuban said.

Consequences could be felt as soon as the June 26 NBA draft. The Houston Rockets are eyeing Wang's countryman, Yao, with the first pick. China has made it difficult for Yao to leave his club team, the Shanghai Sharks, by imposing strict restrictions that include handing over 50 percent of his total earnings to Chinese government agencies. Difficulties with Wang could add to hesitation to release Yao from his Chinese obligations.

Wang has limitations, too, after two years of negotiations with the Chinese Red Army resulted in him becoming the first Chinese player in the NBA. Most prominent among those restrictions is that he has not been allowed to play on the Mavericks' summer league team, and that he had to report nearly a month late last season - both so he could fulfill Chinese national team requirements. Wang also is eligible to be called back at any time to play for his club team, the Bayi Rockets.

Cuban said the Mavericks still want to re-sign Wang and hope to work with him to resolve any obstacles. Wang recently cut ties with his agent, Bill Duffy, and has sought the help of Chan, a friend who is advising him until a new agent is secured.

Chan said Wang still intends to play for China in the World Championship games in Indianapolis from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

· Administrator
58,349 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Chinese Center Wang Prepares for NBA Summer League

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Pending the upcoming World
Basketball Championship in Indianapolis, Chinese center Wang
Zhizhi, the first Asian to play in the National Basketball
Association (NBA), is tuning up for the NBA Summer League in July
to win more playing minutes in the coming NBA seasons.
In a telephone interview this afternoon, Wang said from Los
Angeles that "NBA is the best basketball league in the world. I'm
preparing for the Summer League to enhance my skills both on the
boards and on the offensive end. I've been limited to the playing
minutes in the season, but I'm confident of my strength and I hope
to have better performances later on."
Wang who was drafted in 1999 but signed with the Dallas
Mavericks in April 2001, had his NBA debut on April 5, 2001 when
he scored six points and three rebounds against Atlanta Hawks. He
played five games in 2000-01 season and 55 games this season for
an average 10.6 minutes per game.
"Right now, I'm training in Los Angeles without the knowledge
of the Mavericks, they didn't know where I am," said Wang whose
contract with the Mavericks came to an end as the club completed
its games in the season in May.
"I'm in regular contacts with the (Chinese) Basketball
Administrative Center. Our national team will come to the U.S. to
train for the Worlds when the Summer League comes to an end in
July," said Wang, adding that "I will join them for the Worlds
(slated from August 29 to September 8 in Indianapolis)."
Despite his .417 field goal percentage and .500 long-range
shooting percentage, Wang failed to have his first start in the
Mavericks which boast of a bunch of star players of Canadian Steve
Nash, German Dirk Nowitzki and American Michael Finley.
In a mid-season trade, the Mavericks acquired center Raef
LaFrentz and point guard Nick Van Exel, which further minimized
the minutes for the Chinese center-player.
Wang played an average of 6.0 minutes in the first round NBA
playoffs of the season and was reduced further in the Western
Conference semifinals for an average 5.2 points despite his 6-of-
10 shooting including 3-of-4 three pointers.
Wang had his NBA career-record 18 points from his personal most
of seven field goals and 25 minutes in the game against the
Memphis Grizziles on March 23, 2002. Enditem
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