NBA star Yi Jianlian back to China
Updated: 2011-10-08 22:57
GUANGZHOU, China - NBA star Yi Jianlian would play for Guangdong Hongyuan in the upcoming Chinese Basketball Association season which starts in November, the defending CBA champions confirmed on Saturday night.
"Yi has signed a one-season contract with Hongyuan with an option to leave once he accepts an invitation from NBA teams," Guangdong Hongyuan's team manager Liu Hongjiang told Xinhua.
The current NBA lockout approached its 100th day Saturday, having forced a handful of super stars including Andrei Kirilenko and Tony Parker to seek playing opportunities in Europe and Asia. Last month, Denver's Kenyon Martin joined CBA runner-up Xinjiang Guanghui.
Guangdong Hongyuan has won seven CBA titles in the recent eight seasons, and Yi was instrumental in that between 2004 and 2006.
"Although he may not stay with us very long, I am quite sure his return is good for himself, the team and Chinese fans as well, " Liu said.
"He could keep his edge in CBA, our team will also benefit from his skills and fans certainly want to see him play at his best years."
Yi was impressive at last month's Asian championship and many expect him to land a new offer once the NBA labor dispute settle down.
Liu said that Yi was not indispensable. "Otherwise we would not agree with the jump-out clause in the contract," he said.
Yi was chosen by the Bucks at the sixth pick in the NBA draft in 2007. He played for the New Jersey Nets in 2008 and the Washington Wizards in 2010.
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