Stephon Marbury will move on from the Beijing Ducks following a dispute over salary and a potential assistant coach role with the club. Marbury led the Ducks to three Chinese league titles. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The Chinese Basketball Association's Beijing Ducks announced Stephon Marbury's departure on Friday, terminating his two-year contract due to the dispute of Marbury's role and salary in the next season.

The contract included a team option for Marbury as a player or an assistant coach for the 2017-18 season. After several rounds of negotiations, Marbury turned down the assistant coach offer, insisting to play for another season before the team decided to terminate the contract.

Marbury wrote a letter to fans on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. In the letter, Marbury explained why he refused to become an assistant coach.

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Smith believes he will be a great fit for Gilas (April 22, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Greg Smith at Gilas Practice. Inquirer.net

Interested in playing for Gilas Pilipinas, Greg Smith made quite an impression when he joined the national team’s Thursday evening practice at Meralco Gym.

Coach Chot Reyes didn’t deny that he liked what he saw from the Blackwater import, who gave a glimpse of what the future holds if indeed the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) pursues the naturalization.

“He picked things up very quickly and that’s very typical of players who’ve been to the NBA. They’ve seen it all, they got a lot of experience. But the thing we like about Greg is he’s 26. He’s very young. He’s still got a lot of upside, a lot of potential,” he said. “Even at that young age, he’s already been in the NBA for five years. Because of that experience, he’s able to pick things up very quickly. His (knowledge of system) is still not yet to the level of the others, but we could already see what he’s capable of.”

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Reyes: Priority is players who can be on the floor with Fajardo (April 22, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. PBA IMAGES

As much as Gilas Pilipinas would love a backup plan, coach Chot Reyes would rather take everything into account first before recommending someone to be applied for naturalization.

Talks of getting a backup naturalized player surfaced anew on Thursday after Blackwater import Greg Smith worked out with the national team for its evening practice session at Meralco Gym.

That came after Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said he said he wanted a separate pool of naturalized players, where Gilas can pick its man for differing tournaments in times when Andray Blatche is unavailable.

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3 Naoto Tsuji (JPN) - 15 Joji Takeuchi (JPN) - 10 Kosuke Takeuchi (JPN) - Czech Republic v Japan, FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Belgrade - Belgrade Arena (Serbia), Group Phase, 6 July 2016

TOKYO (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019) - If Japan's basketball fans are wondering how their men's team is shaping up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they'll soon have the opportunity to monitor the progress in person thanks to FIBA's Competition System 2017+.

Starting in November, fans will see the men's national team play regular home games in a bid to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

There is plenty of cause for excitement about the new system in Japan.

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Fadi El Khatib (LBN)

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Asian icon Fadi El Khatib just declared that the 2017 Lebanon national team will be the best ever.

Yes, that's even with the entry of both Australia and New Zealand into the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 that will take place at home in Beirut later this year.

"Definitely Australia and New Zealand are the better national teams, especially since they have in their rosters big NBA players," Fadi El Khatib admitted. "Some of the Asian teams will face problems, but as for Lebanon, we have previously shown that we fear no one and will fight till the end whoever we are playing against."

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Gilas mulls adding Fil-foreign player to pool (April 22, 2017)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

 File photo of the Gilas Pilipinas pool in practice. Philstar.com photo

MANILA, Philippines – A Fil-foreign player, playing outside the PBA, may join the Gilas Pilipinas pool from which two separate teams will be formed to compete in the FIBA Asia Cup and in the Southeast Asian Games late this year.

“Coach Josh (Reyes) and our other coaches have been talking to their friends,” said Gilas team manager Butch Antonio on the possibility of a Fil-foreign player coming on board to beef up the pool.

“In case of Fil-foreign players, they’re automatically eligible to play for our team but as a naturalized player,” Antonio pointed out.

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Fajardo all ears as he sits out Gilas practice (April 21, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

June Mar Fajardo observes the action as he rests his sore right knee. Inquirer.net

Limited to a spectator anew in Thursday, June Mar Fajardo still kept a keen eye on coach Chot Reyes’ schemes from the sidelines.

“I’m watching what coach is teaching,” said Fajardo in Filipino as he sat the practice session out due to his sore right knee.

But Fajardo’s dedication to learn remains as he tried to absorb every lesson in preparation for the 2017 Seaba Championships in May.

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