The Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association have cut NBA point guard Patty Mills for what the team deemed a “fake injury”, despite MRI scans revealing a hamstring tear.
Now what normally is a 3 to 6 week injury has become Mills’ walking papers out of the CBA.
“Due to a fake injury, the Xinjiang team has cut the foreign player Mills,” team general manager Hou Wei said on the team’s website on Wednesday.
The team also reports that Mills “refused treatment” and did not “believe our test results” that indicated the point guard could return to the court after a 7-10 day resting period.
“He (Mills) does not believe that our test results, he sent the results by mail in the form of the Australian team doctor,” a team press release stated.
Mills – who has spent the last two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and is a restricted free agent – has not played since Dec. 23 because of a hamstring injury. But when Mills asked the team if he could sit out an extra two weeks to give the injury a rest, Xinjiang refused the request and formally cut Mills.
“I am very angry, including all of our players for the performance of Mills,” Hou Wei added.
In 12 games with Xinjiang, Mills averaged 26.5 points a game and was no doubt their best player overall since the departure of Kenyon Martin.
His departure is the third major change over the last three weeks for the team who fired head coach Bob Donewald and allowed free agent forward Martin to leave the team, and have since bought out Martin’s $3 million contract.
As a stipulation with the CBA, Mills or Martin can not officially sign with another team until the end of the CBA season, which runs to the end of March.
Both Mills and Martin signed with Xinjiang during the NBA lockout, which ended in early December as the club sought to improve on its second-place finish in the Chinese Basketball Association last season.
After playing for the Melbourne Tigers in Australia to begin the NBA lockout, Mills signed a deal with Xinjiang in mid-November after appearing in nine regular season games for Melbourne. His deal with Melbourne also included an out-clauses to return to the NBA, but that is not the case in the CBA.
Now Mills is left to play the waiting game until the CBA season concludes. And once it does, Mills should receive interest from one team in particular and it’s not the Blazers. Watch for the San Antonio Spurs to be in talks with Mills. Mills has a direct connection to Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown, who also serves as head coach of the Australia national team. Brown and Mills’ relationship is as deep as it comes.
Until then, Mills has plenty of time to rehab his “real” injury as he considers his NBA future.