Wednesday, September 8, 2010

James Singleton will play in China next season

James Singleton determined that he would have more to gain (such as money and playing time) in leaving the NBA than sticking around for another shot next season.

Singleton, a throw-in from the Wizards' trade deadline deal with Dallas last February who emerged as a regular rotation player, said on Monday that he signed to play next season in China with the Xinjiang Gyang Hui Flying Tigers.

The Wizards had some interest in bringing back Singleton, an undersized but energetic, high-flying forward who averaged 6.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in 32 games -- including three starts -- after arriving in WashingtonSingleton had seven games with at least 10 rebounds, including a career-high 21-rebounds in a loss to Indiana last March.

But Singleton said the Wizards were like several NBA teams that expressed interest in signing him to the league minimum. He wouldn't give the terms of the deal but hinted that his contract in China was much more lucrative.

"Playing with the Wizards was a great experience," Singleton said when reached by phone. "They gave me a chance to play because of my talent and work ethic, and not sit behind a name. I'm going back overseas to play basketball because of my passion, not the pay or the fame. Overseas, they allow players to play, grow and mature."

Singleton was undrafted out of Murray State in 2003, but worked his way into the league, spending two seasons in Italy before joining the Los Angeles Clippers. After two seasons with the Clippers, Singleton returned to Spain for another year before signing with Dallas. He said that the NBA is "a business" and that a number of factors outside of basketball often contribute to which players get an opportunity to shine.

"I've seen and experienced just about everything the NBA can offer. I'm blessed cause I was able to partake in it," Singleton said, "Some guys would love to just make it there, ride the bench and get paid. I'm not that guy. I want to play. I didn't work hard all these years just to sit and watch other people. I was given a true talent, but sitting around and being a cheerleader isn't one of them."

Xinjiang finished second in the Chinese Basketball Association last season.

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