Here's a picture of Courtney Sims receiving his 2011 D-League MVP award. Orien Greene can be seen over his left shoulder clapping. Both will be playing in China for the next few weeks.
If this season was last season -- when the NBA Development League had a record 27 players called up to the NBA -- Orien Greene and Courtney Sims probably would both be on an NBA roster at this point since both players were arguably the best players at their position in the D-League.
Unfortunately, there have been just 12 players called up this season (more than likely due to the probable upcoming NBA lockout) which has left both players to head for greener pastures as the D-League season comes to a close. And by greener pastures, I mean China.
According to multiple sources, Utah Flash guard Orien Greene will be signed by the Beijing Ducks while Iowa Energy center Courtney Sims will join the DongGuan Leopards. Both players have been bought out of their contracts for the required $45,000 apiece and are expected to join their respective teams for the upcoming Chinese Basketball Association playoffs.
Greene earned a call-up earlier this season to the New Jersey Nets and was averaging 17.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the Flash this season. Sims was named the MVP of the All-Star game and had been averaging 16.7 points and 9.6 rebounds during the regular season for Iowa.
While the amount of money each team will make during their time in Asia is undisclosed, the league waived a $60,000 monthly salary limit on foreign players prior to the season and it was rumored that the $800,000 salary Steve Francis garnered before being released for multiple reasons and maybe by mutaual decision was "not the highest of the CBA foreign players -- he is not even among the top few players," according to Beijing Ducks official Yuan Zhao.
Suffice to say, I feel confident saying that heading overseas for the next few weeks will be well worth their time.
The first round of the CBA playoffs is a best-of-five while the semi-finals and finals are all best of seven with the action starting on March 23 according to NiuBBall. I've been told both players plan to return to play in the D-League's playoffs if their overseas stints are done in time.