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McGrady nears China deal: team official

SHANGHAI -- U.S. basketball star Tracy McGrady is close to sealing a deal to play for Qingdao DoubleStar in China with an announcement expected within days, a team official told AFP on Tuesday.

The team in the eastern city of Qingdao has reached a verbal agreement with the seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star and was waiting for McGrady to sign a contract, Qingdao's General Manager Sheng Xishun told AFP.

“Both parties have reached a verbal agreement,” Sheng said. “The contract is for one year.” He declined to give financial details.

McGrady is familiar to Chinese fans through his years playing alongside the now-retired Yao Ming — one of China's most popular athletes — with the Houston Rockets.

The Chinese Basketball Association team had already signed the contract and sent it to McGrady's agent for the player's signature, Sheng said.

“So far we haven't received a reply from him (McGrady). We expect him to confirm tomorrow or the day after,” he added.

McGrady, 33, has played for several teams in his NBA career including six seasons with the Rockets. The 2.03-meter (6-foot, 8-inch) forward most recently signed with the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent last year.

McGrady is the latest of several NBA players who have sought to revive their flagging careers in China.

Former NBA superstar Stephon Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to their first-ever Chinese championship last season.

Marbury, a two-time NBA All-Star, has reinvented himself since arriving in China in 2009 following a tumultuous 13-year NBA career that saw talent on the court but often boorish behavior off it.

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