Yi Jian­lian re­turns to NBA with Los An­ge­les Lak­ers


Yi Jian­lian, who is fresh off an ap­pear­ance with the Chi­nese na­tional team at the Rio Olympics, has signed a con­tract with the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, the Na­tional Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion team an­nounced on Mon­day.

Yi, of Guang­dong prov­ince, av­er­aged 20.4 points and 6.6 re­bounds in five games at the Sum­mer Olympics, which wrapped up on Sun­day.

“We’re ex­cited to have a player of his world­wide ac­com­plish­ments,” gen­eral man­ager Mitch Kupchak said on Mon­day. “We look for­ward to bring­ing him to train­ing camp and hope­fully hav­ing him make an im­pact on our team.”

Yi, 28, joins a team that has been at or near the bot­tom of the NBA the past sev­eral sea­sons. To com­pound their woes, the Lak­ers lost their top player when fu­ture Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant re­tired at the end of this past sea­son.

The Lak­ers de­clined to re­lease de­tails of the con­tract.

Yi, who is 7 feet tall, 250 pounds, is a for­mer first round draft pick of the Mil­wau­kee Bucks in 2007. He has not played in the NBA since 2012 and has spent the past four sea­sons play­ing in the Chi­nese Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion.

In the five years he played in the NBA, Yi av­er­aged 7.9 points and 4.9 re­bounds per game.

The Bucks traded Yi to the New Jersey Nets in 2008, who then sent him to the Washington Wizards in June 2010.

Yi played 30 games with the Dal­las Mav­er­icks in 2012 be­fore re­turn­ing t o China, where he starred for the Guang­dong South­ern Tigers of the Chi­nese Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion.

Yi’s in­ter­na­tional ca­reer in­cludes win­ning three gold medals at the FIBA Asia Cham­pi­onships (2015, 2011, and 2005) and a gold at the 2006 Asian Games.


Screenshot of Yi Jian­lian on Lak­ers’ web­site home page.

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