“There has been a genuine excitement throughout our city and state, as well as internationally, following our selection of Yi in the NBA Draft,” Bucks owner and team president Herb Kohl said. “We all anticipate Yi’s arrival and welcome him and his family to Milwaukee. We look forward to a successful relationship for many years to come.”
The Chinese power forward had made it clear before the draft that he had no interest in playing for the Bucks, but the team decided to take a chance on him anyway. Yi is coming off a very strong season for the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 24.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Yi also played in five games this summer with Team China Basketball in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas; he averaged 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots.
There were significant negotiations between Chinese officials, Bucks officials and representatives from Yi’s camp throughout the summer, possibly in an effort to get the star traded. However, the Bucks had no intention of letting go of their lottery pick, especially for cents on the dollar which they would have gotten if they decided to deal him somewhere else.
Luckily for the NBA, Yi’s camp was unable to force a trade and he will now suit up for the Bucks this fall.
Just another solid victory for democracy over communism!