Report: Mavericks to add Yi Jianlian


The Mavericks continue to search out new ways to improve their team after getting their first win Friday over Toronto. ESPN.com reports that the Mavs will be adding Chinese forward Yi Jianlian.

The deal is likely to be finalized within the next 48 hours, sources said.

After looking mostly at centers to fortify their frontcourt rotation in the wake of Tyson Chandlers free-agent departure — including advanced negotiations with former Utah Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko — Dallas is using its 15th roster spot to sign Yi, who is a free agent after playing for the Washington Wizards last season.

With Yi needing a game or two of live action to get re-acquainted with full-speed basketball after a teammate fell on his knee in a Chinese Basketball Association league game, sources said Yi will join the Mavericks D-League affiliate in nearby Frisco on a rehabilitation stint with the Texas Legends before joining the Mavericks.

via Dallas Mavericks, Yi Jianlian agree on one-year deal, sources say – ESPN Dallas.

The Mavericks are going to have a bunch of wing-forwards. Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, Brian Cardinal, and Vince Carter can all spend time at the 3 or 4, as can Yi. Yi was highly regarded coming out of China in the 2007 draft, but failed to show he can put it together. The Mavericks have also had interest in Kyrylo Fesenko according to Stein, and may continue their pursuit regardless of the signing, though they’ll have to release someone in order to make room.

The Mavericks are known to take chances on highly regarded young players labeled as busts, with Sean Williams and Brandan Wright, and having just traded Corey Brewer. Maybe the Mavericks can find a spot for him. Yi Jianlian also makes yet another former Wizard to wind up with the Mavericks. Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson have all had stints in D.C. .

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.