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28-year-old Yi Jianlian requested release from L.A. Lakers


10-26-2016 15:41 BJT

China's best basketball player, Yi Jianlian is likely to return to the Chinese Basketball Association after he was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers. His old team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, is expected to be his next destination.

With the Lakers facing roster cut-down decisions on Monday, Yi and his representatives requested that the team let him go to pursue other opportunities - largely because the role he envisioned in Los Angeles didn't materialize.

His former team Guangdong Southern said that they respect Yi's decision, and expressed their wishes for him to come back.

However, the 28-year-old missed the deadline to register in the CBA, as he planned to return to China on Friday. That means he'll likely miss their opening game against the Shanxi Brave Dragons on Sunday. He's expected to make debut in the second round when the Southern Tigers face the Shenzhen Leopards.

Yi joined the CBA in 2002 and won four championships including three in a row from 2004 to 2006. He was twice named the CBA Finals MVP, and was awarded the Domestic MVP four consecutive years.

His NBA career was not so successful. Yi was troubled by knee injuries after being selected sixth overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was traded to the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks after that. He rejoined the league this year and in six pre-season games for the Lakers he averaged three points and 10.7 minutes playing time. 

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