Orlando Magic forward Earl Clark has signed with Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. His contract does not include "an out close to return to the NBA," meaning he will stay with Zhejiang even if the NBA's labor dispute ends. He could return to the NBA for the 2012/13 season.
The Magic acquired Clark, along with Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, from the Phoenix Suns in a December trade involving Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, their 2011 first-round draft pick, and cash considerations. The second-year man from Louisville played sparingly in Orlando, averaging just 11.9 minutes per game in 33 appearances.
By all accounts, the Magic like Clark, as coach Stan Van Gundy has praised his work ethic and potential as a defender. Clark at times drew some of the league's toughest defensive assignments, getting chances to guard Kevin Durant, Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Dirk Nowitzki, among others, during his time in Magic pinstripes. However, his struggles at the offensive end--at 6-foot-10, Clark shot 44.1 percent from the field--made it difficult for Van Gundy to play him ahead of the more efficient forwards on the roster.
Clark is the first Magic player to sign overseas during the lockout. He, Richardson, and little-used reserve big man Malik Allen are Orlando's lone free agents.