Sun, 11 Apr 2021

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- All eyes are on the destination of former Bayi players during the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league's ongoing registration window, as it might stir the title-contending scenario with powerhouses scooping important pieces into their rosters.

As the Bayi team has dissolved, the topic of former Bayi players' next stop has been of interest to many people. Prior to the third stage of the current CBA season, those players have been clarified by the league as free agents, meaning they can sign with any other league team.

In the first-ever mid-season registration window in the CBA's 26-year history, Fu Hao's arrival with his hometown team the Liaoning Flying Leopards is the most eye-catching one.

Fu, who averaged a team-high 19 points and 9.5 rebounds last season, is deemed as a big reinforcement in the post for Liaoning, who relies much on 33-year-old center Han Dejun.

Zhu Rongzhen, also a newcomer to Liaoning this season, lacks competitiveness due to his lean shape. Zhang Zhenlin boasts excellent athleticism and often finishes spectacular slam dunks on the court, but the freshman is short of the experience of playing in the professional league.

After Han was fouled out or resting on the bench, Liaoning felt the impact in their paint offense, but now it can be made up with Fu.

"New start, new campaign, fight for our hometown and cheer for Liaoning," Fu wrote on his social media page.

But according to Liaoning head coach Yang Ming, Fu sprained his ankle in a recent training session, which might affect his play in the first several matches of the third stage.

"He is recovering under the medical staff's help. It's up to his recovery in deciding when he can play," Yang was quoted as saying by Liaoning local media.

After suffering two defeats in a row at the end of the second stage, Liaoning conceded the top position to defending champions the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

The Xinjiang Flying Tigers, another top-four side, have signed Arslan, who will reunite with his father Adiljan, head coach of the team.

Averaging 10.9 points and 2.5 assists last season, Arslan can provide much help at the guard position and fill in when veteran guard Zeng Lingxu is rested.

The two Beijing clubs also found their supplements in this registration window, with the Ducks signing Lei Meng, and the Royal Fighters recruiting Zou Yuchen.

With the Ducks captain Zhai Xiaochuan missing in the third phase nursing a knee injury, Lei's arrival can offer the Ducks reason to feel a little relieved in their quest for a playoff spot.

"I will carry the Bayi spirit and work hard in every game. This is an everlasting belief and strength for me," Lei wrote on the social media platform.

Despite recruiting post players Li Muhao and Fan Ziming, last season's semifinalists the Ducks are placed 12th among 19 teams. The capital team gets another boost after Yannis Christopoulos returned as the head coach.

Coached by Stephon Marbury, the Royal Fighters are two places ahead of their city rivals.

Zou logged an average of 14 points and 8.6 boards last season. He was also a member of the Chinese national team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Apart from him, former Bayi teammates Ma Yong and Luo Kaiwen also joined the Royal Fighters.

Elsewhere, center Xu Zhonghao joined the Zhejiang Lions, filling the vacancy left by Miroslav Radulica's temporary departure to play the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers for Serbia.

As many teams have absorbed former Bayi players, fans can expect something different when the third stage kicks off on March 1.

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