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Wang's Euroleague adventure a decision for Bayi
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09:44, July 31, 2007

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GUANGZHOU: China's former NBA center Wang Zhizhi, who made a comeback in the CBA last year, says his possible move to the Euroleague is up to his team the Bayi Rockets.

Italian powerhouse Benetton has made Wang's agents an offer, but the star's European voyage depends on whether Bayi, an army-run team, and the China Basketball Association release him.

"I have to say this is not my business right now," Wang told reporters during the Stankovic Cup in Guangzhou.

"I cannot decide it by myself - I will obey the decision from officials of Baiyi and CBA."

The future of the 2.12m Wang is a focal point in China after he top scored for the national side with 17.4 points a game and six rebounds during the NBA summer league.

He backed up that form by contributing a game-high 21 points in China's 64-62 close shave against Venezuela in the team's opening game on Saturday.

According to Wang's American agent, Jeff Schwartz, two unnamed NBA East Conference teams are also pursuing his client.

Some Chinese officials want the 30-year-old to compete against top-level international players to help China's chances in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Beijing newspaper The First reported.

Wang would have the distinction of becoming the first Chinese to join Euroleague if Bayi, which has won eight CBA titles, gave him the nod.

Chinese basketball officials held a meeting with the Italian club in Beijing last week but a move is yet to be confirmed.

He talked up the benefits of a move to Italy, where he would likely get more court time than he would in the NBA.

"I haven't yet said I will go or want to go play in Europe, but from our understanding, it would be of help," he said.

"The level of play in Europe is high."

Sina.com reported that Wang would issue a statement rejecting the offer in order to prepare for the Olympics, but he refused to comment when pressed on the issue.

Nicknamed "Big Zhi", Wang became China's first player to make the leap to the NBA in 2001, paving the way for Houston Rockets star center Yao Ming.

However, the former's NBA experience ended bitterly after four seasons spent mostly on the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat.

During his time in the NBA, Wang was kicked off the roster of China's national team for refusing to return for off-season training, instead choosing to compete in US summer leagues.

He later apologized to China's basketball establishment and rekindled his career this year by leading Bayi to the CBA title.

Source: China Daily

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