[UPDATE: As Beijing Cream has noticed, T-Mac has added another post on his Weibo account, which reads:
Just want you all to know Yang Yi is lying to the China press about me. Any information from him are false to promote his clients. I love China and will always be faithful to all my fans. Peace!
Yang Yi is the Senior Basketball Editor at Titan Sports and a former NBA commentator for CCTV who became known for dropping Yao Ming’s name at every opportunity. Still doesn’t sound like McGrady will be playing in China any time soon, though…]
Following news that Yi Jianlian will not be going from the CBA to the NBA anytime soon comes news that Tracy McGrady won’t be making the opposite journey either.
With the NBA then ruled out, that of course left open the possibility of returning to the CBA, where McGrady played 29 games for the Qingdao Eagles in the 2012-13 season. T-Mac averaged 25 points a game and the team finished last with a 8-24 record.
Most of the buzz earlier this month focused on NBL team (i.e. second tier) Sichuan Blue Whales, with the Chengdu Business Daily saying it was “highly likely” the team would bring McGrady in if the Whales were to get into the CBA for next season [UPDATE: the team’s entry into the CBA has just been approved, more info from Beijing Cream here].
Then the focus switched to existing CBA teams, with several reported to be interested, and Qingdao – his former employer – thought to have the edge. But the issue? Money. One report even quoted Qingdao manager Sheng Xishun saying McGrady was asking too high a price. That report, and others, prompted this posting on Weibo, with McGrady clearly annoyed (and not for the first time):
Reading between the lines, it does seem as though T-Mac, or his representative, was tossing around some numbers – if only to test the waters – that didn’t tempt any CBA team. He seems to imply that the amount of money was the issue, not the interest in playing, but, either way, it all seems pretty final. For now.
[As a footnote on NBA-CBA relations, this is an excellent summary of which Chinese players have made it in the NBA, which didn’t and which may yet do so.]