BEIJING (AP) — Three-time NBA All-Star Steve Francis is leaving his Chinese team after playing in just four games over two weeks.
Chinese media say the out-of-shape 33-year-old played just 14 minutes for the Chinese Basketball Association’s Beijing Ducks. To the consternation of his coach, Francis left the stadium midway through the Ducks’ 104-89 victory over the Jiangsu Dragons on Sunday.
Francis had reportedly signed with the Ducks for $800,000 for the 32-game 2010-11 season, a portion of which he will receive as a settlement.
“I feel unhappy that I couldn’t play the game. I know I was not well-prepared physically to help the team on court. As the team is in hot form, I think it is best for both sides for me to terminate my contract,” Francis was quoted as telling Beijing Television on Monday afternoon.
A number of former NBA stars, including former All-Star Stephon Marbury, signed with Chinese teams this season following the lifting of a $60,000 monthly salary cap.
Ducks coach Min Lulei said he’s been willing to provide a personal trainer for Francis, but the player merely asked for more game minutes.
Beijing had hoped Francis would draw fans to games because of his name recognition as a former teammate of Chinese star Yao Ming with the Houston Rockets.
Francis averaged 18.1 points and 6.0 assists in nine seasons with Houston, Orlando and New York. He was an All-Star in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He was released by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.