The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in signing Chinese forward Yi Jianlian in 2016 free agency, according to the latest Lakers rumors.
With the injury to Timofey Mozgov, this could be a good signing for L.A. as they need healthy bodies in the frontcourt for the upcoming 2016-2017 NBA Season
Marc Stein of ESPN reported the possible Yi to Lakers deal and that the Los Angeles squad is trying to lure him away from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), where Yi was one of the best players last season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in advanced discussions to try to bring China star Yi Jianlian back to the NBA, according to league sources.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 17, 2016
Yi Jianlian is one of the leaders for the Chinese basketball national team, which struggled to compete at the men’s basketball competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With Yi, China was the worst team among the participants in the tournament as the Chinese failed in their bid to even be competitive against the world’s best teams.
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China got blown out in all of their games in Rio except for one game. Yi led his team with 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and this could have attracted the Lakers to give him a shot of an NBA return.
Yi was the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks but disappointed in his NBA career. Considered a “bust”, he also played for the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks but failed to get major minutes for his teams.
Yi found success in the CBA by becoming a four-time CBA Most Valuable Player and a two-time CBA Finals MVP. However, the CBA is not in the same level as the NBA and other top leagues, it remains to be seen if he can have a successful comeback in the American pro league.
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The latest Lakers rumors are signs that L.A. is desperate to sign someone like Yi as they have a weak frontcourt. Mosgov, who signed a huge deal in L.A. early in the offseason, suffered an injury and it’s not known if it will force him to sit out games in the regular season.
Photo courtesy: Derral Chen/Wikimedia Commons