Just when you thought the summer of crazy spending was done in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers cash out for another big man. The Lakers of course kicked off the free agency period by giving a massive contract to former Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov. Now, they’ve decided to drastically overpay another foreign big.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Lakers have signed Chinese power forward Yi Jianlian for one year, $8 million.
Yi Jianlian update: ESPN sources say the Lakers are now in the midst of finalizing a one-year deal in the $8 million range w/the China star.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 17, 2016
Jianlian was the number six pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, selected by the Milwaukee Bucks. He bounced around the league, basically playing for a different team every year until 2012 when he went to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China.
Jianlian was given plenty of opportunities to be a productive NBA player, and he never really came close. Perhaps his game has changed during his time in China though.
He was seen most recently at the Rio Olympics, where he was arguably the best player on the Chinese squad and averaged around 20 points per game.