Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yi Signs With Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed forward Yi Jianlian.

Yi was signed to a standard rookie scale contract, on Wednesday, August 29 in Hong Kong, China. Progress was made on negotiations after Milwaukee Bucks management, including owner Herb Kohl and general manager Larry Harris met with both Yi’s family and Chen Haitao, owner of Yi’s Chinese professional team.

“Kohl, Bucks general manager Larry Harris and team vice president Ron Walter met with Yi, Chinese Basketball Association officials and Guangdong Tigers owner Chen Haitao on Wednesday in Hong Kong.”

The commitment on the Bucks end to get Yi to Milwaukee has been impressive, culminating in the trip to China. The next step is to get Yi to his new basketball home.

"We all anticipate Yi's arrival and welcome him and his family to Milwaukee," Kohl said. "We look forward to a successful relationship for many years to come."

It’s a winning situation for the Bucks and the NBA that this matter didn’t turn out to be a Steve Francis-situation when he forced his way out of Vancouver. Preserving the value of the NBA draft is important, and it’s a damaging situation whenever a smaller-market team is pushed around by an individual. The Francis saga was the beginning of the end for the Grizzlies in Vancouver, really serving as the final straw for a franchise already lacking legitimacy. The Grizzlies ended up in Memphis and Francis hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations, having recently had his contract bought out by the Portland Trail Blazers after being traded away by the New York Knicks. It’s a huge relief the Bucks avoided such a potentially damaging situation for all parties involved.

Furthermore, Yi alleviated a tremendous amount of pressure for himself. As the second most hyped Chinese basketball player ever and sixth overall pick in the draft, he is already entering the NBA with huge expectations. Forcing a trade to a big-market team and defying the NBA system would have created a very difficult situation.

Bucks management must be lauded for their coolness in handling the Yi situation. In the new, globalized NBA, effective front office communication with players and clubs is more critical than ever. Thankfully, Kohl, Harris, and company delivered in strong form.

1 comment:

Ricky - Sixers4guidos said...

wow, this is big news, I thought he wouldn't come. I am REALLY curious to see him play, if he's good he could join the Sixers in few years (LOL)

thanks for the update