The Los Angeles Lakers have the majority of their roster set, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking to add talent. One recent rumor had the team agreeing to terms on a deal with Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, but there had been no official announcement on a deal.
That has now changed as the Lakers made it official that Yi Jianlian has been signed to a deal.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak was very complimentary of the former lottery pick via Lakers.com:
“We’re excited to have a player of his worldwide accomplishments,” said Kupchak. “We look forward to bringing him to training camp and hopefully having him make an impact on our team.”
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times also reports that Yi’s deal is for the minimum with bonuses that can take it much higher:
Lakers officially announce signing of Yi Jianlian. Reportedly 1 year for vet. min. $1.1 million that could reach $8 million with bonuses.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) August 22, 2016
Yi is viewed as a draft bust by many after he was selected sixth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. While he certainly never lived up to his lofty draft status, he did have a couple of decent years in the NBA, including his 2010 season with the Nets in which he averaged 12 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting over 36 percent from three-point range.
The Lakers have a relatively crowded front court as Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Timofey Mozgov, Ivica Zubac, and Tarik Black will all be vying for minutes. Yi brings a different style than all of those players, however with his ability to stretch the floor. He could act as a stretch big man and give Luke Walton a different look in his offense that is predicated on shooting and versatility.
Most recently, Yi starred for the Chinese National team in the Olympic Games in Rio where he averaged 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting an outstanding 46.7 percent from three-point range. There have been no notes of the exact terms of the deal, which has caused some conflicting reports recently.