Oct 10, 2011, 10:07 AM EDT
Yi Jianlian, the second best player to come to the NBA out of China and who played last season for the Washington Wizards, is headed home.
Yi has signed a deal to play in China during the lockout. That in and of itself is not a shock — he’s a star over there and had offers. Yi is an NBA free agent right now but in a twist this deal is supposed to have an NBA opt out so he can return after the lockout — something the Chinese Basketball Association said it was not going to allow. But rules are made to be broken everywhere.
Jarinn Akana, one of Yi’s representatives, confirmed that his client has signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association which will have an NBA out for whenever the labor dispute is settled.
The CBA allowed its teams to sign only free agent NBA players, and Yi is an unrestricted free agent after the Wizards declined to extend his $5.4 million qualifying offer for next season….
Akana explained in a telephone interview that since Yi is a local player, the CBA and the Southern Tigers have both afforded him the privilege of leaving whenever he signs another deal in the NBA.
Yi played for Guangdong before coming to the United States and was a four-time All-Star and led the team to four consecutive titles.
Yi averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Wizards when healthy last season but shot just 41.8 percent from the floor. He is one of those guys who is more athletic than he shows and people keep waiting for him to break out, but it just has not happened.
- Team USA trails at the half, then pulls away for 98-77 win over Turkey at FIBA World Cup 12
- Report: Nike nearing deal to keep Kevin Durant for next 10 years 19
- Report: Rajon Rondo has told Celtics ‘he wants out’ 52
- World Cup Day 1 roundup: Brazil with big win, Andray Blatche puts on a show 4
- USA cruises past Finland in World Cup opener, 114-55 17
- James Harden on Kobe Bryant return: “He’s 20-year-old Kobe” 32
- Chris Paul discusses his signature shoe, hoops with media at launch of his Jordan Brand CP3 VIII (VIDEO) 5
- 67RIEFNS No. 1: Tom Thibodeau managing his bigs 22