It sounds like the plot to a bad action movie: Two Americans, held captive in China. Will they ever be released? Well, this time it's not a bad action movie, especially because J.R. Smith in China probably qualifies more as a comedy. ESPN's Mark Stein reported on Monday that despite a "no opt-out" clause that was reportedly locked in to any contract signed by an American player with a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, it is expected that Smith and Wilson Chandler, two of the three Nuggets currently hooping in the Far East, will be released by their respective teams if and when the NBA lockout ends.
So, how would Smith and Chandler be able to return home even though their contracts supposedly prevent that from happening? Well, the two players can't just walk away from their duties with their Chinese teams, but the Chinese teams can wave the two players, and at that point the players would be free to do whatever they pleased, which presumably wouldn't involve signing with the CBA version of the Cleveland Cavaliers. So yes, contract loopholes. Is there anything more American?
As for that third Nugget... well, Kenyon Martin might not be so lucky. It's believed that Xinjiang, the Chinese team that Martin is currently playing for, would want him to stay, and at that point, Martin would have no recourse. Unless, of course, he can get Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker on the phone.