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Aaron Brooks Heads To China, Won't Be Back For NBA This Year

The NBA lockout has claimed its first victim from the Phoenix Suns roster. Point guard Aaron Brooks signed with a team in China accord to this report from Yahoo! Sports for a reported $2 million. Unlike forward/center Gani Lawal who is playing (very well) in Poland, Brooks' deal doesn't have an NBA opt-out. Brooks, will stay with his team in China until their season is over regardless of any resolution of the NBA lockout.

Brooks is a restricted free agent which gives the Suns the right to match any offer another NBA team would make him. According to Arizona Republic's Paul Coro, the Suns would likely retain the rights to Brooks once (if) he eventually returns to the NBA. This is similar to the situation Josh Childress found himself in when as a restricted free agent he left the NBA to play in Greece and the Atlanta Hawks retained his rights when he returned two years later.

The Chinese season runs until mid-February so IF the NBA lockout ends and there is a season this year, Brooks theoretically find himself back in the league. 

Brooks was acquired by the Suns in a trade deadline deal that sent Goran Dragic and a first round pick (23rd overall) to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Brooks. Brooks was supposed to provide needed scoring off the bench but his time with the Suns didn't work out as hoped. He averaged 9.6 points per game and shot 33% from three.