Ex-NBA center Zhou Qi returns to CBA's Xinjiang
Former Houston Rockets center Zhou Qi will remain in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after signing a new contract with Xinjiang Guanghui, the Chinese club reported on Tuesday.
It's reported that the new deal will earn Zhou an annual salary of nearly 20 million RMB (2.8 million U.S. dollars), second only to Yi Jianlian among domestic players.
Houston Rockets forward Zhou Qi (9) reacts after a play during the first quarter against the Shanghai Sharks at Toyota Center in Houston on Oct 9, 2018. [File photo: IC]
Zhou, who was drafted 43rd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, played 19 games for Houston during the 2017-2018 NBA season, averaging 6.5 minutes, 1.3 points 1.2 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game.
He spent the majority of the past two seasons playing for the Rockets' minor league affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in the G League, before Houston waived Zhou last December.
The now 23-year-old Chinese international helped Xinjiang win their first ever CBA championship in 2017 before his departure to the NBA, and last April, the CBA ruled Xinjiang to have priority over Zhou's signature.
A member of the Chinese basketball team that won gold at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, Zhou is currently in China preparing for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
According to a schedule released on Wednesday, the 2019-2020 CBA regular season will open with defending champions Guangdong hosting Liaoning on November 1.