Former Kansas center Cole Aldrich has signed a contract to play for the Tianjin Gold Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association, the team has announced.
Terms were not disclosed.
However, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Aldrich, who turns 30 on Halloween, told The Star in a text message Thursday night the deal is for one year. He added that he’s been in China “almost a week” with his first preseason game Monday and official start of the season on Oct. 22.
The season runs until March, meaning he would be available to join an NBA team before that season ends.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Aldrich played in the NBA the past eight seasons after being selected 11th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. He spent the past two campaigns with the Minnesota Timberwolves and played limited minutes in 21 games a year ago.
Aldrich, who was cut by the Atlanta Hawks after the team’s first exhibition game, has career averages of 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 339 games for Oklahoma City, Houston, Sacramento, New York, the Los Angeles Clippers and Timberwolves.
Arthur expected to miss season
Phoenix Suns forward Darrell Arthur, a 10-year NBA veteran out of Kansas, is expected to miss the NBA season because of an undisclosed injury.
NBA reporter Shams Charania reported this week that the Suns have asked the league office for a “disabled player exception” for the 6-9, 235-pound Arthur, like Aldrich, a member of KU’s 2008 NCAA title team. He’s ticketed to earn $7,464,912 in the final year of his contract.
The disabled player exception allows teams some salary relief and an extra roster spot if a player is ruled likely to be out through June 15.
Arthur, 30, had knee problems last season that limited him to 19 games with the Denver Nuggets. He has career averages of 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game with Memphis and Denver.
Butler no fan of Wiggins?
Disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, who has asked to be traded, apparently lashed out with a “profanity-laced tirade” at Wednesday’s practice.
According to Yahoo Sports, Butler’s tirade was “directed primarily at Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — as well as members of the franchise’s front office.”
Former KU guard Wiggins, who Butler apparently considers “soft,” has career averages of 19.7 points and 4.1 rebounds through four years in the league.
Wiggins — he’s started his second pro contract — will make $25.5 million this season and $147.7 million total over the next five campaigns.
“Am I being tough on them? Yeah, that’s who am I,” Butler told ESPN. “I’m not the most talented player on the team. Who is the most talented player on our team? KAT (Towns). Who is the most God-gifted player on our team? Wiggs. Who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I put my body (on the line) every day in practice, every day in games. That’s my passion. Everybody leads in different ways. That’s how I show I’m here for you.”
Mason a starter in Sactown?
Former KU guard Frank Mason is expected to open the season as starting 2-guard for the Sacramento Kings. De’Aaron Fox is starting point guard, while Mason and Yogi Ferrell are the backup lead guards, but can also play 2-guard.
Ferrell started the Kings’ exhibition game against Utah on Thursday. Mason started Monday’s game against Maccabi Haifa.
Mason in the team’s first four preseason games averaged 11.5 points (on 61.9 percent shooting; 4 of 7 from three) and 5.8 assists.
Off guard Bogdan Bogdanovic is not expected to be ready for a couple weeks as he recovers from a knee injury.
“Frank does what Frank does,” Kings coach Dave Joerger told the Sacramento Bee. “He’s hard-nosed and he’s a good guy that the coach always knows he can go to and you’re going to get 110 percent from him. He gets to the paint and he fights for every inch of the court, and I think that’s what people respect about Frank.”
Bogdanovic is expected to return to the starting lineup when he returns. According to the Bee, the season-opening nine-man rotation figures to be Fox, Mason, Justin Jackson, Nemanja Bjelica, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, Ferrell, Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley.
Jackson has tough preseason
Second-year pro Josh Jackson has not been effective this preseason for the Phoenix Suns.
The 6-foot-8 Jackson has averaged 11.4 points a game off 41.1 percent shooting. He’s 4 of 21 from three in five games.
“Through only five preseason games, Josh Jackson has not looked like a starter offensively, potentially putting some worry in the mind of new coach Igor Kokoskov, who because of the average offensive preseason play of Jackson, might re-think his plan of starting Jackson and move the still smooth-scoring T.J. Warren back into his prior role,” writes Adam Maynes of valleyofthesuns.com.
“If Jackson, the still 20-year-old fourth overall selection turns into nothing more than a decent role player at best, it will more completely sully the image of the franchise in the wake of the Ryan McDonough years, marking this era of tanking as one that found only one success, that of Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick,” Maynes adds.