Agent Lu Yu says former lottery pick Yi Jianlian will play for the Guangdong Tigers in the Chinese league this season, according to the Chinese-language website NetEase (translation via HoopsHype). Lu said last month that his client's first choice was to remain in the NBA, but it appears an opportunity to do so did not materialize after his inconsistent performance for the Chinese Olympic team reportedly turned off NBA scouts.
Yi drew interest from Spain's Real Madrid earlier this summer, but Yi's request of two million euros appeared to be out of the team's price range. He spent last year with the Mavs after signing a minimum-salary deal shortly after the regular season began, but appeared in only 30 games and averaged career lows in minutes (6.8), points (2.6) and rebounds (1.6) per contest. He was the sixth overall pick of the 2007 draft by the Bucks, but never came close to delivering on his promise except for his 2009/10 season with the Nets. That year, starting 51 of his 52 games played, he averaged 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds with a 12.3 PER.
It's the second straight year that Guangdong has landed a 2007 NBA first-round pick, as 26th overall selection Aaron Brooks spent last season with the team before signing this summer with the Kings.