Nuggets F Martin bolts for China

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DENVER (AP) — Kenyon Martin becomes the third Denver Nuggets free agent to sign a contract to play in China this season.

Martin’s agent, Andy Miller, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 33-year-old forward has agreed to a deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

By doing so, Martin won’t be able to return to play in the NBA if there is a 2011-12 season. Owners have locked out the players in a labor dispute and the league has said players won’t be able to opt out of their deals to return to the NBA.

J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler also are playing in China.

Martin averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 2010-11. He missed the first 26 games as he recovered from surgery on his knee.