Team China, Milwaukee Tussle Over Yi

Chinese coach claims playing for Bucks would stunt forward's growth
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser User
Posted Jul 18, 2007 7:51 AM CDT
China's Yi Jianlian shoots versus the Memphis Grizzles during the NBA Summer League at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas on Friday, July 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The coach of the Chinese national hoops team has a new reason for Yi Jianlian not to go to the Bucks, who recently drafted him 6th overall: the team's abundance of young frontcourt players would retard his growth as a player. Yi's agent had formerly cited Milwaukee's tiny Chinese-American community as a reason for the 19-year-old to play elsewhere.

"If [Yi] goes to a team where he can't compete, that would be being irresponsible to the national team," says the coach. However, if Yi chose not to play for the Bucks, his sole option would be sitting out the 2007-08 season for all leagues; were he to play in Europe, he would remain the property of the Bucks.