Patty Mills, a restricted free agent of the Portland Trail Blazers, has left his native Australia's National Basketball League to take a deal with a Chinese Basketball Association club, possibly the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The point guard had appeared in nine regular season games for the Melbourne Tigers, and according to the Morning Herald has sparked unprecedented interest in the league. But his deal with Melbourne included out clauses to return to the NBA or take a more lucrative offer. The Chinese deal would seem to fall under the latter.
There is an impact on the Blazers or any NBA team hoping to sign Mills to an offer sheet should the NBA lockout end before the season is lost, though: the Chinese league doesn't permit out clauses, which means Mills can't return to the NBA before March at the earliest. That nearly ensures that Mills will be added to the 2012 free agent class.