Yi Jianlian signs deal to play in China during lockout

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Yi Jianlian, the second best player to come to the NBA out of China and who played last season for the Washington Wizards, is headed home.

Yi has signed a deal to play in China during the lockout. That in and of itself is not a shock — he’s a star over there and had offers. Yi is an NBA free agent right now but in a twist this deal is supposed to have an NBA opt out so he can return after the lockout — something the Chinese Basketball Association said it was not going to allow. But rules are made to be broken everywhere.

Michael Lee at the Washington Post has the details.

Jarinn Akana, one of Yi’s representatives, confirmed that his client has signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association which will have an NBA out for whenever the labor dispute is settled.

The CBA allowed its teams to sign only free agent NBA players, and Yi is an unrestricted free agent after the Wizards declined to extend his $5.4 million qualifying offer for next season….

Akana explained in a telephone interview that since Yi is a local player, the CBA and the Southern Tigers have both afforded him the privilege of leaving whenever he signs another deal in the NBA.

Yi played for Guangdong before coming to the United States and was a four-time All-Star and led the team to four consecutive titles.

Yi averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Wizards when healthy last season but shot just 41.8 percent from the floor. He is one of those guys who is more athletic than he shows and people keep waiting for him to break out, but it just has not happened.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.