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NBA free agency: Metta World Peace not ruling out playing in China

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Metta World Peace still may wind up playing in China, as he tweeted Sunday that he talked with Yao Ming, who currently owns the Shanghai Sharks. If World Peace decides to stay in the NBA, the Knicks are the frontrunners for his services.

Lintao Zhang

The New York Knicks are considered to be the frontrunners for Metta World Peace, but the recently amnestied small forward still may take his talents to China.

World Peace texted Adam Zagoria of on Sunday that he was "going to China," and Marc Berman of the New York Post also reported that World Peace hadn't ruled out playing in China.

Fueling the China speculation is this tweet that World Peace sent out Sunday afternoon:

Yao Ming owns the Shanghai Sharks, so World Peace could possibly have been talking about a contract. Ming and World Peace do have some prior history, as the two played together for the Houston Rockets during the 2008-09 season. There was some initial uneasiness between the two, but things cleared up and the Rockets enjoyed a successful season, making it to the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.

There have been a handful of NBA players who have recently played in China, and quite a few of them have ties to the Knicks. Stephon Marbury has had a lot of success in China, winning a championship in 2012, and Steve Francis, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith have all spent some time in China.

Gilbert Arenas played for the Shanghai Sharks this past season, so if World Peace's tweet about Yao is any indication, perhaps the two could be teammates next season.

Tracy McGrady, Quincy Douby and Aaron Brooks have also had some success in China. McGrady scored 25.0 points per game during the 2012-13 season. Douby set a CBA record with 75 points in a game and averaged 31.6 points during the 2012-13 season. Brooks scored 40 points in a game in January 2012 during the NBA lockout.

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