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Yi Jianlian Signs Contract with Bucks
    2007-08-29 18:14:32     CRIENGLISH.com

China's NBA draft pick Yi Jianlian (R) and Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl meet the press during a conference to announce Yi's signing with the NBA franchise in Hong Kong August 29, 2007. Yi signed a three-year deal after a two-month stalemate with the Bucks as he refused to embrace the team after the Draft late in June. [Photo: Xinhua]

Chinese newly rising basketball star Yi Jianlian signed contract with the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday afternoon in Hong Kong.

The Milwaukee Bucks later confirmed that it had signed a multi-year contract with the 2007 first round draft pick Yi Jianlian.

The 7-foot star will be playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, following Yao Ming as China's latest export to the National Basketball Association in the United States.

Bucks' 6th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Yi Jianlian signed his contract in Hong Kong following a negotiating session with Chen Haitao, owner of the Guangdong Tigers.

Bucks owner and team president Senator Herb Kohl, General Manager Larry Harris and Bucks Vice President Ron Walter were able to meet with Mr. Chen, as well as Yi and his family, as part of the process.

One of the topic of discussion at the meetings in Hong Kong is the playing time of Yi that may possibly deter the agreement with the Bucks. Chinese officials wanted assurances that Yi would play enough in his rookie season in the NBA to prepare him well for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Bucks owner Herb Kohl affirmed that Yi Jianlian will surely play enough time in the games and his team hopes to make Yi a more important role in the team.

Yi Jianlian is expected to join the team for a training camp that starts on Monday, October 1 at the Bucks Training Center in St. Francis, WI.

His U.S. agent Dan Fegan said Yi's contract was worth "roughly $3 million" a year, guaranteed for the first two years pursuant to an NBA collective bargaining arrangement for rookies on the draft, the Reuters reported.

"We felt that he was the type of player who'd really fit our team. The thing that excites us is the different ways he can play, his versatility," Reuters quoted manager Larry Harris as saying.

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