Aaron Brooks Signs With Guangdong Tigers
Aaron Brooks is the latest NBA player to sign abroad during the lockout. On Thursday, Brooks inked a deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. The point guard won’t have an NBA opt-out clause and will remain with the team for the duration of their season.
“I just want to play basketball,” Brooks told HOOPSWORLD in a phone interview. “I don’t know what the NBA is going to do so this is a good opportunity for me to go over there and keep playing.”
In recent months, Brooks has had conversations with several Chinese teams, but ultimately decided that Guangdong was the best fit for him. He’ll be playing alongside fellow free agent Yi Jianlian as well as former NBA players Lester Hudson and Fred Jones.
“They’re a good team, very professional, and I’m looking forward to playing with Yi,” Brooks said. “This is the best way for me to keep playing, stay in shape and get better.”
Brooks is extremely popular in China, in large part because of his success with the Houston Rockets. After playing alongside Yao Ming for several years, he became a fan favorite overseas. Brooks has a number of endorsements with Chinese companies and has made several trips to East Asia in recent summers.
Once the lockout ends and Brooks returns from China, he will be a restricted free agent. Last season, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns prior to the February trade deadline. He finished the season averaging 10.7 points and 3.9 assists.
The Chinese Basketball Association wouldn’t allow their teams to sign players who are currently under contract in the NBA, but the league has inked many notable free agents. Brooks joins Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Luther Head and Jianlian as free agents who have signed in China since the lockout commenced four months ago.