InsideHoops.com NewsWire: The Milwaukee Bucks announced today that 2007 first round draft pick Yi Jianlian (EE jee-AHN-lee-AHN) has signed a multi-year contract. The Bucks 6th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Yi Jianlian signed his contract in Hong Kong following a negotiating session with Mr. Chen Haitao, owner of the Guangdong Tigers. Bucks owner and team president Senator Herb Kohl, General Manager Larry Harris and Bucks Vice President Ron Walter were able to meet with Mr. Chen, as well as Yi and his family, as part of the process.
Yi Jianlian is expected to join the team for training camp that begins on Monday, October 1 at the Bucks Training Center in St. Francis, WI.
“There has been a genuine excitement throughout our city and state, as well as internationally, following our selection of Yi in the NBA Draft,” said Senator Herb Kohl. “We all anticipate Yi’s arrival and welcome him and his family to Milwaukee. We look forward to a successful relationship for many years to come.”
“We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge and thank Mr. Chen for his assistance and support in the negotiating process,” Kohl added.
“We were thrilled to be able to draft Yi Jianlian in June and are equally excited to sign him to a NBA contract as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Harris. “We drafted Yi with the expectation that he would be a part of our franchise for a very long time and this is the first step in that process. Yi is a skilled and versatile young man who we have seen play numerous times over the last few years including this summer in the NBA Summer League. Our players and coaches look forward to working with Yi and I know our fans will enjoy watching him compete with the many talented, young players on our roster.”
NBA Commissioner David J. Stern commented, “We are happy that Yi will be playing with the Bucks to further develop his skill and his contribution to both the Chinese National Team and the NBA. This is another great example of cooperation between the CBA and the NBA and I want to congratulate the CBA, Mr. Chen, the Guangdong Tigers and the Milwaukee Bucks.”
A 6-11, 238-lbs. forward, Yi Jianlian has played professionally for the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) since 2002-03, when he was awarded Rookie of the Year honors. He has competed in the last five CBA Finals and won titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006, earning the Finals Most Valuable Player honors in 2006. In 2003-04, he averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 28 games, including his first CBA title. The following season in 53 contests, Yi improved his numbers to 16.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots on his way to a second consecutive CBA title. Yi led Guangdong to a third straight CBA title in 2005-06, averaging 20.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 52 games. Last season, Yi posted career-high averages with 24.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30.7 minutes. He led Guangdong to a fifth straight appearance in the CBA Finals, but bowed to Bayi in five games (4-1).
This summer, Yi Jianlian and Team China Basketball played five games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Yi averaged 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in 28.0 minutes per game. He tallied a team-high 23 points vs. Memphis, and 20 points, including the game-winner, in Team China Basketball’s win over Cleveland.
Most recently in the Efes Pilsen World Cup in Izmir, Turkey, Yi averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds over three games against Poland (28 points, 10 rebounds), Serbia (17 points, 9 rebounds) and Latvia (24 points, 5 rebounds).
Yi competed for the Chinese National Team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.