(Photo source: Apple Daily)
A number of local newspapers quoted Yulon star forward Chen Hsin-an saying that Chen is interested in playing in China. The reasons, Chen said, are better salary and tougher competition level.
The United Daily reported that a team in Guangdong province, supposedly Guangdong Southern Tigers, has expressed interest in signing Chen, the Most Valuable Player of the 2007-08 SBL regular season.
If Chen does sign with a Chinese team, he will be the latest in a long line of Taiwanese players to step foot on China's Chinese Basketball Association.
Last season, Yen Hsin-shu and Wang Hsin-kai both played for Yunnan before coming back and played for Taiwan Beer. Yang Yu-min, who played for Dacin Tigers this past season, has signed with Jilin Northern Tigers.
Apple Daily estimated Chen will sign for an annual salary of 1.5 million RMB (6.6 million NT) as Yen reportedly signed a one year, one million RMB (4.4 million NT) contract. The figure, in my opinion, is questionable (overrated) though.
Former Taiwan NT star and current Taiwan Mobile head coach Cheng Chih-lung was the first male player to play in the CBA when he signed with Shanghai Sharks and teamed with Yao Ming in 1999.
However, Chen is under contract with Yulon Dinos. To play in China, he will probably have to buy out his contract and obtain the letter of clearance from both Yulon and Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), Taiwan's highest basketball governing body.
Apple Daily reported that Chen has to pay Yulon eight million NT to buy out his contract.
And both newspapers reported that the CTBA is likely to reject Chen's request, fearing a domino effect will lead to an exodus of Taiwanese basketball players.