The hottest free agent on the Chinese basketball market has officially been locked in by the team he’s called home for his entire CBA career. Yi Jianlian is going back to the Guangdong Southern Tigers for at least three seasons.
According to Enea Trapani of Sportando.com, the Guangdong South Tigers have re-signed Yi Jianlian to a three-year $16.1 million deal. The deal will go in the CBA record books as the highest paying contract in CBA history. But make no mistake about it, Yi Jianlian has earned every Chinese RMB that was offered to him.
Yi Jianlian, who turns 31-years-old this upcoming October, will enter his 15th season as a pro. In 2007, he was the 6th overall pick in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. A mobile 6’11” slasher, he was seen by NBA scouts as the perfect oversized wing player who can run the floor. But injuries would plague his NBA career, a move back to China was inevitable. In the CBA, Yi Jianlian is a dominant force. He’s a living legend. He’s won four CBA titles while taking home four CBA finals MVPs. He’s a parinial all-star who when healthy, causes nightmares for the American bigs.
Yi Jianlian will spend his summer with the Chinese national team where they will look to strike gold on home turf at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships.