Lakers News: Former LA Guard Signs With Chinese Professional Basketball League

Is his NBA career over?

A one-time Los Angeles Lakers reserve shooting guard, brought in to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis mount their title defense during the 2020-21 NBA season, has latched on with one of the most lucrative non-NBA leagues in the world after failing to nab an NBA gig.

Ben McLemore, a former lottery pick, is inking a one-year contract with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shandong Heroes, his agent George Langberg has informed Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Now 29, McLemore has logged nine seasons in the NBA, most recently in a fairly outsized role with a lottery-bound Portland Trail Blazers club. The 6’3″ swingman was selected with the seventh pick in the 2013 draft out of Kansas by the Sacramento Kings, then in the midst of their post-playoffs wilderness period. 

He spent his first four seasons with the Kings (and five of his first six), and also enjoyed stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, the aforementioned Lakers, and finally Portland last season.

Houston waived McLemore in April 2021. When he cleared waivers, he inked a rest-of-season contract to play with LA. During his 21 regular season contests with the Lakers, McLemore averaged eight points on .390/.368/.762 shooting splits and 1.6 rebounds in 17.5 minutes a night off the bench.

McLemore played a more limited role with LA in the team’s subsequent first-round playoff series against the NBA Finals-bound Phoenix Suns, a six-game defeat. He sat out the first two contests, played less than four minutes in two others, and was pressed into duty for an average of 15.8 minutes for the other two.

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