Patrick Mills Heads To CBA’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers

It is believed the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, having lost an import to injury on the eve of the season, tabled an offer of about $1 million to sign Mills and Melbourne felt it would be unfair to keep him in the NBL on a fraction of the money. ''We have agreed to release him immediately,'' Tigers majority owner Seamus McPeake said. ''The offer is more than our salary cap ($1 million per team) and we couldn't stop him from taking it. He wouldn't make that money here in 10 years.'' While it might be seen as a magnanimous gesture by the Tigers, they also know that without the NBA lockout stopping Mills from going back to the Portland Trail Blazer, they would not have had the Boomers playmaker at all. In his nine games for the Tigers, Mills (18.6 pgg, 5.0 assists) proved to be a crowd favourite in Melbourne and around the country as fans flocked to the various venues to see one of Australia's most exciting home-grown talents of recent years. ''We're fortunate to have had him for as long as we have and it would have been selfish of us to try to hold him here,'' McPeake said. ''He's been absolutely fantastic for us and he would have done anything for us. We wouldn't even think of holding onto him with that kind of money to be made.'' Xinjiang has already signed NBA veteran Kenyon Martin to a deal reportedly the richest in Chinese Basketball Association history and the club was also supposedly looking to secure NBA talents Jamal Crawford and JJ Barea. The one possible downside for Mills is that Xinjiang has reportedly insisted any signings commit to the entire Chinese season and not return to the NBA once the lockout is over, although that event seems increasingly unlikely. The move also leaves the Tigers a man down, but imports Ayinde Ubaka and Ron Dorsey and back-up guard Daniel Dillon will certainly pick up the slack and shots left by Mills, who bade farewell to the NBL with a 32-point effort in a loss to the Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night. ''First thing in the morning we will look at all the possibilities,'' McPeake said. ''We will look at signing another player, but we will consider all the options and leave no possibility unexplored.'' Via (HeraldSun)

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