yi jianlian

Until the NBA and its players’ union can come to a resolution on a new collective bargaining agreement, Yi Jianlian is returning to the place where his professional basketball career started.

Jarinn Akana, one of Yi’s representatives, confirmed that his client has signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association which will have an NBA out for whenever the labor dispute is settled.

The CBA allowed its teams to sign only free agent NBA players, and Yi is an unrestricted free agent after the Wizards declined to extend his $5.4 million qualifying offer for next season. Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin have all signed to play in China since the league decided to lock out its players on July 1, but the CBA does not allow foreign players to leave until the conclusion of the season.

Akana explained in a telephone interview that since Yi is a local player, the CBA and the Southern Tigers have both afforded him the privilege of leaving whenever he signs another deal in the NBA.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post blog