Yi Jianlian reiterates he wants to be in NBA, not Europe

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There hasn’t been much of an NBA market for former No. 6 overall pick Yi Jianlian this summer.

After riding the Dallas bench last summer Yi had a strong Olympics leading China, well, until he strained his MCL in the final game. But he looked like a guy with the length, athleticism and shooting to last in the NBA.

And yet his phone hasn’t rung with NBA calls. It did ring with a call from Real Madrid recently, but Yi wanted $5 million that is now off the table. Yi is looking for an NBA job, someone close to him told NuiBball.com (a great site covering the Chinese Basketball Association).

Speaking to NetEase on Sunday, Lu Yu, a member of Yi’s representative team, said that although there has been communication with European teams, Europe is at this point a secondary option.

“For now, we’re not considering playing in Spain,” said Lu. “I can only say that Yi’s first choice is to return to the NBA.”

Europe may be Yi’s way back to the NBA, because of his play and injury history have NBA teams looking elsewhere. Usually an athletic 7’0” guy can get a roster spot in the NBA, even if it is riding the pine, but NBA teams are considering other prospects and moving on from Yi right now.