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Wilson Chandler says he needed a change so he’s headed to China

Wilson Chandler Arrives In Hangzhou Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images

Wilson Chandler is in China, playing now for the Zhejiang Guagansha Lions, his arrival back in September greeted by camera crews and children bearing boughs of flowers .

It’s Chandler’s second stint in the Chinese Basketball League team, having played here during the 2011 lockout and becoming a popular figure in the county of 57 million people. He averaged 26.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in 32 games that season. Now, after a tumultuous year in Brooklyn —missing the first 25 games because of a PED violation, then opting out of the “bubble”— the 33-year-old came back. He wanted a change, he said in a recent podcast.

“People ask me, ‘Why did you go to China? You could have possibly won a ring if you stayed with the Nets with KD and Kyrie both being healthy and having Caris (leVert) and Spencer (Dinwiddie) and all the other guys on the team,’ Chandler said on Episode 5 of The Realm Podcast, as reported by Kristian Winfield. “But I felt like I needed a change. I felt like I needed peace of mind, to get away. Being here makes you appreciate things...

“I think I just needed that change of environment and that change mentally, just to find peace within myself and get away and be here and just focus on being happy and being happy playing basketball,” he continued. “Loving the sport, not playing for a paycheck. Not playing for family. Not playing for fans and stuff. That was the biggest thing for me. I’m honestly happy with my decision. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been cool, I’ve been chillin’.”

So he traded a Brooklyn apartment for one in Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai on China’s east coast. Still, he holds the Nets in high regard, detailing the things the organization did for him.

“They’re a great organization from my point of view, just making sure you’ve got all the little things you need. How they treat the lowest person to the highest person, everybody’s pretty much equal,” he said as Winfield noted.

“They made it feel like home to me. They were very transparent the way they handled business, just the stuff they did for my family. They made sure my grandmother, my kids had stuff. For me it was comfortable. It was like home, and then the players on the team were cool as hell. All around a great time, a great experience.”

Now, he said he’s also thinking about his post-career life, and said marketing marijuana is going to be part of it. Back in July, while the Nets were playing in the “bubble,” he went back to his hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan, to start up a downtown marijuana dispensary.

“That’s like the big question. I think about that s--- every day. I don’t know,” he said, talking about his next career. “Right now, I’ve been dabbling in the cannabis industry, so that’s what I’m doing right now. That’s probably my biggest thing outside of basketball: cannabis, so it’s probably going to be something with that.”