Chen Hsin-an, arguably Taiwan’s best player, would play in his home country Taiwan next season after signing with Pure Youth Construction on Friday, local media reported.
Chen, who spent the last two years with Dongguan in the Chinese league CBA, decided to play closer to his family as he now have two daughters.
The 1.96-meter forward sign with Pure Youth for two years with the maximum monthly salary of NT$120,000 (US$3,936) allowed under SBL regulation. Signing bonuses and incentives were not disclosed. (However, I suspect that PY would pay Chen more than that.)
The 31-year-old left Yulon to sign with Dongguan two years ago, inking a two-year deal with the Chinese team in Guangdong Province for an estimate annual salary of NT$11 million (US$361,000), about seven times of his current salary with PY.
His stint with Dongguan was a happy one, however, as Chen had been plagued by injury during the period. His playing time suffered, so did his performance. Chen averaged 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in his first season in China and 2.89 points and 2.4 rebounds last year.
Chen elevated his play — although not much — in the just-concluded FIBA Asia Championship for Men in Wuhan, China, where he averaged 8.6 points and 3.1 rebounds. Taiwan finished with a disappointing eighth place in the tournament.
Chen was quoted as saying that he did not make up his mind to sign with PY until the day before the signing as Yulon and Taiwan Beer were also in the run for his service.
He credited PY head coach Hsu Chin-tse as the key person for his signing with the team because Hsu always called to see how he was doing when he was in China. Salary is not the main reason for his signing with PY, Chen underlined.
With Chen on the team, Hsu said that PY would set its eyes on the SBL championship.
Chen would sit out the Probation Cup which will be held in the eastern Taiwan city of Hualien next month to nurse his ankle injury, sustained during the Asian Championship.
He averaged 17.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his five years in the SBL, all with Yulon Luxgen, and won the Finals MVP in 2003-04 season and regular season MVP in 2007-08 season.