Yi Jianlian is reportedly close to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Yi, 28, has spent the past four seasons with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Yi Jianlian update: ESPN sources say the Lakers are now in the midst of finalizing a one-year deal in the $8 million range w/the China star.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 17, 2016
The 7-footer has averaged averaged 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds for China in its five games during the Rio Olympics.
Sources said that the Lakers tried in the summer of 2015 to sign Yi and have renewed those efforts in the wake of the former lottery pick’s fourth trip to the Summer Olympics as a cornerstone player for China.
“In order to help Yi seize this opportunity to play at the highest stage of [the basketball] world and unfold his capability, in order to help Yi fulfill his dream and goal, we are offering our unconditional support and cooperation to Yi to make sure he joins Lakers. Best wishes to Yi for his bright future in NBA,” Guangdong said in a translated statement.
A deal is not yet done to secure Yi’s return to the NBA, but sources say talks are ongoing and that the Lakers are hopeful of adding him to the roster before training camp begins in late September. […] Yi was the sixth overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2007 draft and also had stints with the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks in parts of five seasons.