Whilst it is impossible to provide particularly accurate or complete salaries for CBA imports, it doesn't take much Googling to see the massive disparity between the Chinese millions and the D-League crumbs. The $60,000 monthly salary limit the CBA had on imports last year has been removed, and spending has quickly skyrocketed; Francis's $800,000 deal is far from being the biggest.
Steve Francis - As mentioned previously, Francis started this season in China, signing a big money contract with the Beijing Ducks and seemingly beginning something of a comeback. But it turns out that it wasn't. In three games with Beijing, Francis totalled (not averaged - totalled) 11 minutes, 2 points and 4 turnovers. And here are those two points.
For comparison's sake, Beijing's other import Randolph Morris averages a league leading 30.4 points, plus 11.7 rebounds per game. Even Sun Ming-Ming and his 2.0 points per game average managed to outperform Francis. And Sun has done it without any bird flipping.
In addition to doing absolutely nothing on the court, Francis had other problems. The long term knee injury that has robbed him of his athleticism remains, joined by a concurrent ankle problem that saw him play 17 seconds while wrapped in ice. Furthermore, Francis drew a fine and a "serious warning" from the league for flipping off the refs whilst on the bench, in protest to a foul call he didn't like. And here is that gesture.
Francis then failed to attend Christmas Day practice, left at half time during a game after being DNP-CD'ed in the first, and eventually was asked to leave the team. Ironically, he turned up to practice to announce his departure.
Steve Francis - 3 games, 3.7 mpg, 0.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.3 TOpg, 25% FG, 0% 3PT, 0% FT
[...] Beijing's other imports have been guards, but they have not been successful. They started with Steve Francis, in a saga best explained here. As the numbers can attest to, it didn't end well. Francis was replaced by perennial NBA-cusper Joe Crawford, but he too struggled, and has been released, replaced by ex-NBA player Orien Greene. Greene has yet to make his debut.
Francis last played in the NBA in December 2007. After Portland waived him immediately after acquiring him in the Zach Randolph deal - they decided they would rather have paid Steve $28 million to go away than to have Zach Randolph - Francis signed a two year deal for slightly over $5 million with the Houston Rockets. He played in only 10 games for the team, however, and shot only 33%. He was then salary dumped onto Memphis partway through his second season (in turn gaining Memphis the pick later used to draft Sam Young), and was waived, ne'er to return. The last reports come from last summer, which said that Francis was working hard at the IMG Academy, trying to get right for one last go around. But the athletic skills have gone, leaving Francis having to rely on smarts and skills. And, harsh as it sounds, he never had a lot of those.
Steve Francis - Francis runs a small record label, Mazerati Music, and also occasionally takes a turn on the mic himself. Here's a song of his called "Finer Things," which is either an attempt to educate the youth of today of how the fragility and vapidity of material possessions is heightened in a time of great economic upheaval, or the complete opposite.
The deal was made to help Houston dodge the luxury tax. And it worked, because they did. By dumping Francis's $2,634,480 salary onto the Grizzlies, the Rockets saved themselves that much again in luxury tax savings, as well as picking up a $2,911,756 rebate from not being a luxury tax payer. The amount of money they saved was more than enough to justify giving the Grizzlies enough cash to pay Francis's remaining salary for the remainder of the season, and by returning the Grizzlies's 2009 pick to them - one which they had previous acquired in the draft night 2008 three way trade that saw Memphis move up for Darrell Arthur - the Rockets found sufficient incentive for the Grizzlies to help them. For the Grizzlies, they were essentially given a free pick; they were given a player that they didn't want, but also enough money to pay his salary without him ever turning up, and they got a 30's pick for their troubles. All they had to do was sacrifice some cap space that they weren't going to use anyway.
(The 2011 pick is irrelevant; it is top 55 protected, and only for that season. So if Memphis pick in the bottom 25 of the NBA that year, which they will, then Houston gets nothing. The pick was only included because Memphis had to give up at least something, however arbitrary.)
(Also, the pick Houston gave to Memphis to save this $5.6 million was the #36, which Memphis then used to draft Sam Young. Houston later bought the #32 from Washington for $2.5 million. So in a way, they traded a player on their inactive list in exchange for moving up 4 spots and gaining $3.1 million. Not bad work.)
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.