Wednesday, 5 October 2011

McGrady to join Douthit in China?

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, October 05, 2011 0 comments

by Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas center Marcus Douthit is all set to play for the Foshan Dralions in the Chinese league this season and his import partner could be 14-year NBA veteran Tracy McGrady.
The 6-11, 230-pound Douthit has come to terms on a five-month contract to play for Foshan whose head coach is former NBA guard Jay Humphries. Douthit, 31, said he was told that Foshan officials were trying to sign up McGrady and the deal is “in the works.” A source said Douthit will receive $60,000 a month with the Dralions.

Douthit powered the Philippines to a fourth place finish at the FIBA-Asia Championships in Wuhan last month. He led the tournament in scoring and rebounding. His Gilas contract expires in December and Douthit is scheduled to meet with SBP president Manny Pangilinan today. Douthit will leave for the US on Monday and keep his appointment at the altar with long-time girlfriend Nina on Oct. 21. He expects to be in China by Nov. 1. Nina and her six-year-old daughter Amaree will stay in Manila while Douthit plays in China.
“Foshan is just a two to three hour flight from Manila and maybe, Nina and Amaree can visit on weekends or I could,” said Douthit. “Amaree goes to school in Manila. My contract in China is for a little less than five months so it should be over in time for me to play in the PBA second conference if I’m asked.”

Douthit isn’t eligible to play in the PBA Philippine Cup because he has no Filipino lineage although he is a naturalized citizen. But in the second conference, he could play as an import. The PBA will allow imports with no height limit in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Douthit said he hopes to play for the Philippines in the next FIBA-Asia Championships in 2013, the qualifying tournament for the World Championships in Spain a year later. “I’ll be 33 by then but luckily, I’ve never suffered any major injuries so I hope I’ll be okay,” he said. Douthit was reminded that centers usually enjoy long basketball careers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis who played into their 40s. Douthit mentioned that guard Jason Kidd, who’s 38, continues to play at a high level.

 “It’s been a wonderful experience playing for the Philippines,” said Douthit, the Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick in 2004 from Providence College. “In the beginning, I’m not sure how the fans thought of me, especially when we were playing in the PBA. But now, everywhere I go, fans come up to me. It’s never happened to me before.  I really think Gilas earned the respect and recognition from the fans. I appreciate the fans’ support and I want to thank them for it.”

McGrady, 32, recently went on a 10-day, four-city “Feeling Love” tour of China to reconnect with his Chinese fans, visit cancer patients and raise awareness for an environmental program. Last season, he played with the Detroit Pistons. McGrady hasn’t averaged in double figure points the last two campaigns but led the league in scoring with a 32.1 clip in 2002-03. He has played for Toronto, Orlando, Houston, New York and Detroit. Because of the lockout, NBA players are looking for contracts overseas with opt-out clauses to return when the new collective bargaining agreement is inked. The Chinese league has disallowed the recruitment of NBA players with opt-out clauses but McGrady is a free agent and may agree to sign without an opt-out clause.

Humphries played with Phoenix, Milwaukee, Utah and Boston in the NBA from 1984 to 1995. The former University of Colorado point guard has coached in Korea and China so he’s familiar with the Asian style. In 1998, Humphries joined an NBA legends team, including Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Adrian Dantley, on a tour of China. In 2001, he began his coaching career in Asia.


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