Why does Delonte West have to go to China to play professional basketball?

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Delonte West has a new job, but it's not necessarily the one he wanted. Or, it's not in the place he wanted.

West will be a professional basketball player this year, but it will be in China playing for the Shanghai Sharks, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Chris Haynes.

West has been the subject of plenty of debate as he tries to get back into the NBA at age 31. And the mentions on Haynes' Twitter report show a good cross-section of what went wrong.

What really happened?

Basically, three things happened that led people to steer away from West, and none happened on the basketball court.

First, he left the Cavaliers for a time in 2008 for treatment for what was described as depression and a mood disorder, according to the Associated Press, which also meant he was taking medication for the issues.

"In a sense, you feel like a weaker man because you have to raise your hand and ask for help," West told AP at the time. "But I found out over the last week that it made me a stronger person. I came back focused, and with the help of some medicine and talking with people on a regular basis, I'm back in good spirits. I'm back here 100 percent."

Then, there was an unsubstantiated rumor about dating LeBron James' mother that was repeated time and again.

James' lawyer then sent a cease and desist letter to the website that published an email that prompted the rumor, calling it “categorically false and per se defamatory. No thinking person could possibly believe such rubbish."

The third issue was then an arrest for an improper lane change on his motorcycle, which revealed he had – well – a lot of weapons on him.

He reportedly had two loaded handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case along with him.

The police report listed the weapons as a Beretta 9mm handgun, a Ruger .357 magnum handgun, and a Remington 870 shotgun.

One issue, plus the rumor, plus the arrest led to teams and the public simply being scared of West.

Any explanation?

West does have one explanation, which he gave to Slate again recently.

He said that, the night he was arrested, he was actually sleeping at home when his cousin's kids were visiting. His mother was watching them and they had gotten into the closet where his legally purchased weapons were stored.

His mother asked him to move the weapons. He was doing exactly that when he was arrested.

It seems to make sense. It also was believed by police after his mother backed up his account and police saw that West had no prior adult record.

So what now?

The question now is whether any NBA team will take a chance on him again, whether he is good enough still to deserv that opportunity or whether he'll be more like the former Ron Artest, who simply doesn't have the game to play in the NBA anymore.

The game is hard for many to give up. But, when it is taken away in a way that seems improper for a player who seemingly has all the prerequisite skills to play at the highest level, it's got to be even more difficult.

Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks
Cleveland Cavaliers
Eastern Conference

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