Kenneth Faried was one of the best free agents remaining on the market. The veteran forward averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in a brief stint with the Houston Rockets last season, but he had struggled to find an NBA home for this season. Now, that won't be an issue. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Faried will be signing a $4.4 million deal with the Zhenjiang Lions, a team in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Faried is the first major American player to sign in China since Daryl Morey's controversial tweet about Hong Kong led to the Rockets being blacked out across the country and a number of sponsors pulling out of deals. That Faried last played in the NBA for Morey's Rockets adds a layer of intrigue to the move, though a number of NBA players sign in China every year. Jeremy Lin was the most notable player to do so when he joined the Beijing Ducks in the offseason. The CBA has very strict rules on the use of foreign players. Teams are only allowed to have two on their roster, and they are allowed to play on six combined quarters.
Still, China has become a popular pit stop for American players looking to eventually return to the NBA. The Chinese season ends before the NBA playoffs begin, so a number of players have played full seasons there before latching on with an NBA team prior to the postseason.
Faried, 29, could theoretically do that, depending on the as-of-yet known full details of his contract. It is unclear if the CBA will enact any policy changes on the front in light of Morey's comments, or how long Faried's contract is in the first place.
For now, the move removes a valuable player from the NBA free-agent pool, and allows Faried to make far more than he would have on a minimum-salary NBA deal. He could still return to the league, but at the moment, he is off of the table for forward-needy teams.