The Houston Rockets are perhaps the most popular NBA team in China. Now, two former Rockets will reportedly play for the same Chinese basketball team.
Ty Lawson and Donatas Motiejunas played on the Rockets during the 2014-15 season. Reports indicate Lawson will join Motiejunas on the Shandong Golden Stars next season.
Here is what one Chinese reporter said about why the team has embraced Houston (via NBA.com):
“The Rockets are China’s NBA team. It began with Yao Ming. But even in the years after he is no longer playing, this is the team that more Chinese fans know and follow. They are loyal to the team that made the first of their countryman the No. 1 choice.”
While some originally reported Lawson would play alongside Luis Scola in China, this report was denied.
Former No. 10 overall pick Brandon Jennings agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Brave Dragons after the rumor about Lawson passed.
Lawson could have made $2.1 million on a veteran’s minimum deal in the NBA. However, his deal in China could be worth between $2.4 million and $3 million.
He is also working on a footwear company he launched last year called SLKRS.
The former Rockets will likely help increase the popularity of the Golden Stars next season. During the 2017 postseason, over 10 million people in China watched one Rockets-Spurs game.
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