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Yi Jianlian reiterates he wants to be in NBA, not Europe

Aug 21, 2012, 9:16 AM EDT

Yi Jianlian Getty Images

There hasn’t been much of an NBA market for former No. 6 overall pick Yi Jianlian this summer.

After riding the Dallas bench last summer Yi had a strong Olympics leading China, well, until he strained his MCL in the final game. But he looked like a guy with the length, athleticism and shooting to last in the NBA.

And yet his phone hasn’t rung with NBA calls. It did ring with a call from Real Madrid recently, but Yi wanted $5 million that is now off the table. Yi is looking for an NBA job, someone close to him told (a great site covering the Chinese Basketball Association).

Speaking to NetEase on Sunday, Lu Yu, a member of Yi’s representative team, said that although there has been communication with European teams, Europe is at this point a secondary option.

“For now, we’re not considering playing in Spain,” said Lu. “I can only say that Yi’s first choice is to return to the NBA.”

Europe may be Yi’s way back to the NBA, because of his play and injury history have NBA teams looking elsewhere. Usually an athletic 7’0” guy can get a roster spot in the NBA, even if it is riding the pine, but NBA teams are considering other prospects and moving on from Yi right now.

  1. patsfanvt - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    playing in Spain for 1-2 years might be the best decision for his NBA career. The talent is there, the physicality/awareness is not yet.

  2. knightrider1755 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Jianlian is a bust and should be playing anywhere but in the NBA next season. Although the skills are there, he never really developed a game. He is a player in search of a game. His only asset now is that he is a big man and big men are fastly becoming extinct in the NBA. However, a big man with nothing more to contribute can become a liability. Li needs to work on his game. I suggest he work with Yao Ming in China in the offseason and, if he vastly improves, look toward returning to the NBA in the future.

  3. cantonbound13 - Aug 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM


  4. thebigcaptain2011 - Aug 21, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    In unrelated news people in hell reiterate they want ice water, not lava….

  5. fanz928 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    He could play for heats

    • donrwells3 - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      He is a superstar in China. He ran the torch and led his team like a pro.

      I don’t understand this. If you’re capable of a 30 point game and can lead a team like he did, why did he not go anywhere in the NBA?

      Then again, you could watch the video of Kobe Bryant scoring 68 points in 15 minutes (running clock) against the Chinese All-Star players and you realize exactly why he needs to improve his game to make it in the league.

      • hodaghunter - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:35 AM

        I believe that was a charity game full of musicians and famous people. Something at the level of the celebrity game that the NBA has on all-star weekend.

  6. flyrocket31 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Rockets should pick him up! Lin and Yi!

  7. hodaghunter - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    He didn’t go anywhere in the NBA because of his reported bad attitude. Yi did nothing but complain about his various roles that he was given in Milwaukee.
    In fact, through his agent he threatened specific teams not to draft him. Milwaukee ignored these threats and it took the owner begging Yi to sign a contract after being drafted. Herb Kohl (Bucks’ owner) even had to fly to China to get this done.
    Yao vs Yi was huge, 200 million viewers in China and then when that was over Yi started to get phantom injuries. There is also issues about his true age, currently he is either 28 or 30 depending which source you go with.

    Doesn’t sound much like a guy who wants to play in the NBA, more desperate for the NBA paychecks he thought would just keep flowing…

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