The Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely busy this offseason and are slowly but surely building to get themselves back into playoff contention. Luke Walton was brought in to be their new head coach and they are doing everything in their power to bring in as much talent to the roster as possible.
It has been a busy offseason already for the Lakers, but they are not done making moves just yet.
According to a report from Marc Stein of ESPN, the Lakers are pursuing a deal with Chinese star Yi Jianlian. He was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but things didn’t work out with them in the long run. Jianlian has played well for China’s national team and drew attention from the Lakers due to his play.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in advanced discussions to try to bring China star Yi Jianlian back to the NBA, according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 17, 2016
During the China vs. USA game to open the Olympics, Jianlian put up a huge game. He scored 25 points on eight of 19 shooting to go along with six rebounds, according to ESPN statistics.
Adding Jianlian would make a lot of sense for the Lakers. He may not be a young player with star potential anymore, but he has the exact skill-set that Los Angeles could use off the bench.
Throughout the five NBA seasons that Jianlian played in, he averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He shot 40.4 percent from the field overall and knocked down 33.3 percent from the three-point arc. Jianlian can step out and knock down the mid-range and three-point shots, while also having a solid back-to-the-basket game.
At just 28-years-old, there is still plenty of time for Jianlian to turn his career around. Perhaps a chance with the Lakers is exactly what he needed to get his career back on track.
Needless to say, signing Jianlian is worth the risk for the Lakers. If he is able to resurrect his career and play up to his full potential, Los Angeles could be signing a future starting power forward. On the other hand, if he is unable to put up the numbers the Lakers are hoping for, they are not going to have an issue with releasing him.
Looking ahead at the 2016-17 NBA season, the Lakers are going to take a serious step forward in their rebuilding process. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle are all capable of being dangerous offensive weapons. Los Angeles also went out and added Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, Jose Calderon, and Brandon Ingram this offseason.
There is no denying that the Lakers have put together a very talented team. In the next couple of seasons, there is a good chance that they could contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Jianlian has earned this second chance in the NBA. He has continued working on his game and has improved a lot. There were a lot of critics that were unhappy with his work ethic during his first tenure in the NBA, but perhaps he has fixed those issues.
Expect to see him enter this opportunity with desperation trying to break the “bust” label that has been applied to him. Playing on one of the biggest stages in the league will put a lot of added pressure on his shoulders. Even though there will be a lot of scrutiny surrounding him, Jianlian should end up being a very solid pickup for the Lakers.
Do you think the Los Angeles Lakers are making a good move by bringing Yi Jianlian on board? Will he turn his career around and have a successful second tenure in the NBA? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Eric Gay]