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James Singleton leaves Wizards for China

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 Guanghui Flying Tigers.

You'll have to come to China to see me do this again. (Getty Images)

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 Washington. Singleton 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.

By Michael Lee  |  September 6, 2010; 9:42 PM ET
 | Tags: James Singleton, Washington Wizards  
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Next: Wizards season schedule breakdown: Part IV


I liked what he brought last year and wouldn't have minded seeing him come back, but he's right: he would have been buried on the bench. Gotta respect his desire to play.

Posted by: IrenePollin | September 6, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he's leaving. I consider him more of a loss for the team than vice versa.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 6, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I would have preferred signing him instead of Josh Howard. He was the one I thought brought leadership to that locker room.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | September 6, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

BIG loss for the Wizards! Hate to see Singleton go like that. In my opinion, he was worth a hell of a lot more than the league minimum, and the Wizards could still had him at a bargain.

Singleton, for the few minutes he was allocated, put up decent numbers. The Wiz need more tough veterans, like him, not only as a safety net, but as mentors for all these kids they're now relying on.

I do respect his decision though. Best of luck to him in China.

Posted by: Independent11 | September 6, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the energy that Singleton brought last year, but Booker should be an upgrade.

Posted by: djnnnou | September 7, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Great! Singleton, China welcomes you.

If more American black professional basketball players come to China, China can then challenge the NBA. Ha!

Singleton will be greatly welcomed for bringing his skill and talents to China. We can learn a lot from America's NBA players.

Posted by: kaipan | September 7, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

This is a blow for the rebuilding Wizards. Singleton brought all the intangibles to the court last season--some games he was the only player to set a pick. The Wizards should have done more in the off-season to bring him back.

On the other hand, he's a bone-head, as this decision--to leave the NBA--proves. China is a retirement gig.

Posted by: KTV1 | September 7, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call this a loss for the Wizards, rather it was a decision by management not to keep him. A decision I dont agree with given the tenacity he brings to the table and management's supposed goal to be tougher and more defensive minded.

Posted by: divi3 | September 7, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Nice high energy guy. But if he doesn't want to be a backup it's just as well he not going to be here.

My quess is he got a multi-year in China with lots of tax free incentives. The guy got some security and can probably bankroll his retirement.

The Wiz need the roster flexibility to search for a big physical guy to give them some B/U center minutes. Singleton wasn't going to get more then the league min. and yes, playing the young guys is going to come before his getting minutes.

Posted by: flohrtv | September 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll miss Singleton, but good for him if he is getting well paid in China.

Nobody can say that Singleton isn't good enough to play in the NBA. This is another illustration that the NBA teams are competing not only with each other for players, but with pro leagues overseas.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | September 7, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I think Chris 'Birdman' Anderson spent time in China as well.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 7, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Hate to see him leave. Actually, I could've done without Yi and would've liked Singleton in thee instead.

Posted by: bazing | September 7, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how management decided not to bring him back if he was offered a contract and said he had a better opportunity in China. More power to him, more clock, money and he'll be a bigger name there than here.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I totally dig this cat's attitude.

Posted by: shanks1 | September 7, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Singleton who?

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Once the season started and the wizards lost a couple of games most of you would consider singleton trade bait. Just like you did the guy we let go to the spurs while he was here. We only missed them once they are gone. When they are here we call for them to be cut or traded every time the wizards lose.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 7, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz made him what they thought was a fair offer. Someone else made a better one and he took it. No harm no foul. He's not a guy you get into a bidding war over.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 7, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Another fumble by Ernie no surprise on our way to another 50 loss season.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 7, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Another fumble by Ernie no surprise on our way to another 50 loss season.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 7, 2010 3:39 PM
I couldn't agree more. Singleton was a tough minded, veteran player who brought a little sorely needed toughness and work ethic to the Wizards. Yet another blunder by Grunfeld.

Posted by: sonny2 | September 7, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

What "fumble"? The post makes clear that the Wiz offered him a fair market NBA contract. He rejected it in favor of a bigger contract (and, most likely, a bigger role and more PT) in a non-NBA market where the financial rules are different. Short of grossly overpaying him (which, of course, all the same people criticizing Grunfeld for not keeping Singleton would have also ripped him for) they did all they could.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 7, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

EG gambled and lost. Not surprising, b/c he did the same with LH, Gee, Mason, etc. Sometimes EG gambles and wins, but those perceived wins end up being losses (e.g. resigning ET, Gilby, MeTawn, etc.).

Oh well, just another day of doing the business of Les BouleS for EG.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 7, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

best of luck to you james your leadership will be missed i'm sure.they need toughness going forward and that was the key to his game,play you tough and hard and let you know,its gonna be tough and hard all game long,who's that guy now?

Posted by: bru4bon42z | September 7, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

What's the BFD about Singleton? He's a hustle guy but at best a marginal NBA player, which is why he had to go to China to get more than the veteran minimum. If he's a rotation player for your team, that's probably not a good sign. As for Ernie's performance as GM, he made some pretty good offseason pickups in Yi and Hinrich, both of whom he got at a discount price. Yi is a $3 million 12 and 7 player who's just starting to click. Hinrich, who always gave the Wizards a lot of trouble when he was with Chicago, is a way better player at both ends than Mason will ever be.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | September 7, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

What "fumble"? The post makes clear that the Wiz offered him a fair market NBA contract.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 7, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

No-where in the article does it say that a contract was offered, provide a quote where we actually offered Singleton a contract.

Posted by: closg | September 8, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

"But Singleton said the Wizards were like several NBA teams that expressed interest in signing him to the league minimum."


Of course, you'll try to do the semantics dance and claim that since the actual words "they offered him a contract" don't appear then it means no offer was made. That is, of course, crap. According to the post, Singleton himself said that "several NBA teams that expressed interest in signing him to the league minimum." Regardless of whether or not a piece of paper was put in front of him for a signature, such interest coinstitutes an offer.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 8, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse


"coinstitutes" = "constitutes"

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 8, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

DAMN!!!! Best of luck JAMES.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 12, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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