LOOKS like Yi Jianlian’s NBA return with the Los Angeles Lakers will be cut short before it formally began.
Three days before the NBA season opens, the Chinese star has asked for his release from the Los Angeles Lakers as team officials appeared set to waive him after talks between the two sides on Sunday (Monday, Manila time), according to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein.
League sources told Stein that Yi and his representatives are seeking other opportunities after the 7-foot forward was dismayed over his role for the Lakers during the preseason.
Sources added that the Lakers will make the announcement of waiving Yi on Monday before they decide on cutting one more player to get their roster to the league maximum of 15. Former All-Star Metta World Peace and another veteran forward Thomas Robinson appear to be contesting LA’s last roster spot.
Yi signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Lakers last August after he turned heads with his strong play for China in the Rio Olympics. Before that, he has played the last four years in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers after spending five seasons in the NBA.
It’s still uncertain whether Yi hopes to make his NBA comeback this season with another team or return to the Chinese Basketball Association.