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.