The Los Angeles Lakers officially announced Monday the signing of the 7-foot tall Chinese giant Yi Jianlian.
Jianlian was the star player of the Chinese basketball team in the Olympic Games in Rio, averaging 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in his five games. His performance against the U.S. team, in which he scored 25 points, was a good show of how he could offensively handle an NBA team – and may have been the reason the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly agreed to sign him for a one-year, contract that could, with bonuses, reach $8 million.
“We’re excited to have a player of his worldwide accomplishments,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We look forward to bringing him to training camp and hopefully having him make an impact on our team.”
As the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Jianlian played for the Brooklyn Nets, the Washington Wizards and the Dallas Mavericks until 2012, when he returned to China to play for the Chinese Basketball Association. He joins Coach Luke Walton’s new Laker offense as a power-forward, and will also support the team as a center.