Denver Nuggets restricted free agent Wilson Chandler is scheduled to return to the United States from China sooner than expected, according to sources close to the situation, with next week as his target.
It remains unclear, though, how quickly Chandler will be allowed to follow through on his stated intention to re-sign with the Nuggets even if he does leave China in the next few days. Chandler's Zhejiang Lions team starts a five-game playoff series next Thursday, but sources told ESPN.com that Chandler received the blessing of Lions management to come back to the NBA as soon as he helped the team clinch a playoff spot.
Chandler, though, needs the Chinese Basketball Association to issue his FIBA letter of clearance before he can resume his NBA career. And it is not yet known whether Chinese authorities are prepared to grant Chandler that clearance or insist that he has to wait until the Lions' season is over -- as per the terms all NBA players who signed in China during the lockout had to accept -- before signing with his next team.
What is clear is that Lions officials are prepared to let Chandler come home. Sources told ESPN.com that Zhejiang management essentially promised a drifting Chandler that he'd be granted permission to skip the playoffs as long as he made sure the team didn't miss them. I