Wanting to take another shot at playing in the NBA, the star of China’s national teamYi Jianlian signed a largely non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers in the offseason. Yi had played well in the Olympics and looked to be a good fit on the Lakers as a floor spacing big man. Yet after a rather unremarkable preseason, where Yi played just 11 minutes per game and shot 16.7 from three, he reportedly asked the Lakers to release him so he could continue his international career and pursue a larger role than what he’d have with L.A.
From ESPN’s Marc Stein:
After talks with team officials on Sunday, China star Yi Jianlian has asked theLos Angeles Lakers for his release, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that with the Lakers facing roster cut-down decisions by Monday at 5 p.m. ET, Yi and his representatives requested that the Lakers let him go to pursue other opportunities, largely because the role he envisioned in L.A. didn’t materialize.
With Julius Randle, Timofey Mozgov and Larry Nance ahead of him in the rotation, Yi just couldn’t find a consistent role in Los Angeles. Coupled with his poor shooting, he didn’t want to spend a year in the NBA fighting for minutes when he could be a star in China.
For the Lakers, this doesn’t really have that big of an affect. Yi wasn’t playing and his contract was unconventionally based on how many games he played, so they aren’t taking a big hit financially by waiving him. It was just a low-risk move that didn’t pan out and now both the Lakers and Yi can move on.
Courtesy: CBS Sports