Yi Jianlian Returns To China, Will Play For Guangdong Tigers If NBA Lockout Extends

Yi Jianlian will return to China and play for the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association if the NBA lockout continues, reports Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Yi is an unrestricted free agent, given that the Washington Wizards -- who traded for the forward a year ago -- declined to extend Jianlian a qualifying offer that would have made him a restricted free agent. In an interesting twist, Lee reports that Yi was able to include an opt-out clause in his contract with Guangdong, unlike fellow NBA free agents in China like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin.

The CBA approved a rule last month barring foreign players from having opt-out deals that would allow them to leave China if the NBA lockout were to end. But as a Chinese national, Yi is under no such rules. It remains to be seen, however, how strictly the CBA will enforce the rule: Earl Clark, last of the Orlando Magic, has reportedly already left his Chinese team.

Yi has been a major disappointment since being taken No. 6 by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2007 NBA Draft. He's played for the Bucks, New Jersey Nets and Wizards.

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