Chinese basketball star to miss new CBA season over contract foul

Chinese basketballer Zhou Qi will skip the upcoming Chinese Basketball Association season due to a contract dispute with his club, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.
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Chinese basketball star to miss new CBA season over contract foul

Zhou Qi, a player with Xinjiang Flying Tigers, used to play for NBA's Houston Rockets.

Chinese basketball star Zhou Qi announced on Sunday in his Weibo account that he would skip the upcoming Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season as a consequence of a contract dispute with his club side, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.

"I am withdrawing from the next season, it's my responsibility to protect the players' legitimate rights," Zhou, who used to play for NBA's Houston Rockets, wrote on China's Twitter-like platform.

"I hope to make the CBA league more standardized and truly protect the reasonable rights of players through my work. Meanwhile, I will provide supplementary materials to the CBA as soon as possible. I believe that the CBA can give a fair and just decision."

Zhou's contract with Xinjiang expired on July 31 and the club has the option to renew it.

Guo Jian, general manager of the Xinjiang club, said that they offered Zhou a new contract on June 25, but didn't receive any feedback from him.

Guo expressed disappointment at Zhou's decision. "The Xinjiang club has done its job according to the league's regulations. It's his own choice (to withdraw from the league)."

Guo revealed that Zhou's business team had brought the contract dispute to the CBA, and the league's governing body ruled that the contract was still valid and the club still owns the relevant rights. The 25-year-old center then applied for an arbitration over the contract dispute.

According to CBA regulations, a player must be registered with a club by August 31, otherwise he cannot compete in the new season.

Zhou now faces two options that leave him either to register and play in other basketball leagues or join another CBA club, both solution needing negotiation with Xinjiang Flying Tigers, which seems impossible to be done within two days.

Born in 1996, Zhou was recruited to the China Youth Basketball Team in 2009 given his excellent performance as a center. After many years in professional games, Zhou joined the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in 2017 and started his CBA career.

After his second season with Xinjiang, Zhou declared for the 2016 NBA draft, making him the second Chinese basketball player to secure a contract with the Houston Rockets next to Yao Ming.

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