Friday, July 6, 2007

Yi Acknowledges Existence of Bucks' Franchise

It finally happened. Yi Jianlian met with Larry Harris and Larry Krystkowiak in Vegas today. Perhaps most importantly, Yi met the Larrys without his agents being in the room.

Sources indicated today that Yi spent about an hour meeting with Harris and Krystkowiak. The only other people present were Yi's interpreter and an interpreter used by the Bucks officials.

According to sources, Harris told Yi the Bucks have no intent to trade him and will give him a major opportunity to fit into the team's young frontcourt, which includes Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva.
I had been thinking this would stretch out for some time, but I think it's becoming increasingly likely Yi signs with the Bucks in the next week or two. While training camp is months away and Yi won't be playing on the Bucks' summer league team anyway, the tide of public opinion both here and in China has swung in the Bucks' favor, and for Yi to obnoxiously hold out in hopes of a trade--while his target teams such as the Warriors and Bulls move on and become apparently less interested in his services--would only further cast him in a bad PR light. Being the jerk who demands to play in one of only a few cities isn't exactly the way to endear yourself to the masses. We know Yi needs to play in the NBA next season, so it seems to be only a matter of time before he acknowledges Milwaukee is the place he'll be calling home. For Fegan, Yi and company to save face you don't expect them to admit they were being greedy and reverse field right away, so I'm guessing he and his camp regroups over the next couple days. If they come to their senses then they can visit Milwaukee a week from now when the Vegas summer league ends and they can play the "we just didn't know much about Milwaukee" card and everyone can move on and get ready for the season.

You can watch Yi tonight on NBATV's live webcast as his Chinese National Team takes on the Memphis Grizzlies' summer league team at 7:30 ET/6:30 CT. It will also be broadcast on tape delay on NBATV.

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