Al Jefferson opting to play in China this season
According to a report from David Aldridge of NBA.com, well-known big man Al Jefferson is headed to China next season for the next chapter of his basketball career.
NBA veteran Al Jefferson opting to play in China this season, per source. Had an opportunity to re-sign with Pacers but was offered a nice payday overseas.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 26, 2018
After 14 years in the NBA, Al Jefferson is headed to China. The Prentiss native has signed a deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.
— Taylor Curet (@TaylorCuret) July 23, 2018
Jefferson, now 33 years of age, signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Indiana Pacers prior to the 2016-17 season. However, due to salary cap issues, the Pacers decided to part ways with the former 15th overall pick this offseason.
Jefferson struggled to find a spot in Indiana’s rotation last season. His stats took a hit as a result. In 36 appearances, “Big Al,” as he’s came to be known, averaged 7.0 points on 53.4 percent shooting from the field, 4.0 rebounds, and just under one assist (0.8) in a career-low 13.4 minutes per outing.
Al Jefferson has been a member of five NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets (and Bobcats), and the Indiana Pacers. In 915 games played, he holds career averages of 15.7 points on 49.9 percent shooting, 8.4 rebounds, 1.65 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 28.7 minutes per.
The NBA seems to have moved away from traditional “bigs” like Jefferson. However, there is still quite a bit of value in his style of play. At 6-foot-10 and 280 pounds, he’s simply hard to deal with on the low block.
Other NBA players have migrated their careers to China in the past, including Stephon Marbury, Gilbert Arenas, and Tracy McGrady. Let’s see if Jefferson can attain a similar level of success overseas.