The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly in “advanced discussions” with Chinese power forward Yi Jianlian about his possible NBA comeback, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. In an update, he would later reveal in a tweet that Yi has agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers management reportedly approached the 6’11” player even before the 2015-16 NBA season began, with Yi turning down the offer to stay in China. He was playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged more than 25 points per game.
Yi Jianlian, who joined the NBA in 2007 when he was 20 years old, spent his five-year career in the league moving from team to team. After being drafted by Milwaukee Bucks, he was then transferred to the New Jersey Nets, then the Washington Wizards and finally the Mavericks. He scored 7.9 points and grabbed 4.9 rebounds per game during his short stint in the league.
As a member of the Chinese national basketball team, Yi scored an average of 20.4 points per game in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His impressive performance however, was not enough to power the Chinese team, which lost all five of its games.
earlier reported that the team has actually long been eyeing Yi, who left the premiere basketball league after the 2011-12 season with the Dallas Mavericks.