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Report: Clippers interested in Zhou Qi

The former second round pick from China could be headed back to the NBA.

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - LA Clippers v Houston Rockets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

For how stacked the LA Clippers appear to be at the moment, they still do have some roster availabilities that they will likely fill before training camp is set to begin at the end of September.

As things stand, the Clippers presently have three open training camp spots. Those can come in a few different ways — whether it be the one guaranteed contract spot they have open, the one two-way spot they have available, or just simply an Exhibit 9 or Exhibit 10 camp invite.

To that end, according to Matt Eaton of the South China Morning Post, it appears the Clippers might have interest in former NBA big man Zhou Qi.

Several reports suggest the 26-year old is now fielding offers from NBA franchise Los Angeles Clippers. Zhou, currently in Los Angeles, has yet to comment on the reports.

Zhou appeared in 19 games over two seasons with the Houston Rockets after they drafted him with the 43rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The 7-foot-1 big man also spent a scant two games in their G League system. Zhou was waived by the Rockets on Dec. 17, 2018.

Since his NBA stint, Zhou has played in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2019-2021) and in Australia’s National Basketball League for the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Zhou signed a two-year deal with South East Melbourne back in Sept. 2021, but the second year was a player option.

According to Eaton, Zhou, who reportedly is currently in Los Angeles, has been removed from the team’s official website and been listed as a free agent by the NBL “after the team’s CEO Tommy Greer and head coach Simon Mitchell hinted they were looking to replace the Chinese superstar ahead of the upcoming season.”

Zhou averaged 11.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on 63.3% shooting in 24 games for South East Melbourne this past season.

The big man is fresh off a stint at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers where he helped China go 4-2 in their group while averaging 16.4 points, 11 rebounds and 2.2 blocks on 61.4% shooting. Zhou put up 16 points and 17 rebounds in 29 minutes during a close loss to Australia in June.

Zhou, 26, would represent an interesting test case for the Clippers. While Zhou is a project big still, he would have two-way eligibility and could possibly play himself into a spot in the organization as a result.

During a Summer League game against the Clippers in 2018, Zhou managed 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks in 24 minutes.