Lots of stuff out there on the Yi signing:
- Listen to an audio conference with Herb Kohl, Larry Harris and Bucks VP Ron Walter.
- While Kohl admits they weren't sure what would happen when they got to China, he notes they were feeling positive after the extensive discussions they had with Dan Fegan, Yi and Guangdong owner Chen Haitao.
- He also talks about how at the end of the day the discussions were essentially all basketball-related and had little to do with Milwaukee the city. Then again, you'd expect them to say that, given neither side wants to look like Milwaukee the city was a sticking point.
- Harris steers clear of discussing the buyout issue, though Kohl references the standard requirement of having to buy out contracts with foreign teams. In other words, they gave Guangdong $500,000.
- Kohl describes David Stern as "elated" when he heard the news.
- Harris and Kohl side-step the age issue, playing the "we go by what FIBA says" card, but I don't buy it really. Remember the Bucks have plenty of experience with international age issues because of Ersan Ilyasova.
- JS Editor Garry Howard and Charles Gardner talk about how the story developed. Funny how Howard admits that they didn't break the story, but that the Bucks broke the story to them. Is that a good thing? I will say I appreciate Gardner's work, as he's gone from being a part-time hoops writer to clearly being the most interested and hard-working hoops guy at the JS. As a relative newcomer he doesn't seem to break stories as often as Gery Woelfel, but he has a pulse, which is more than you can say of Tom Enlund. Howard also talks about starting a Bucks blog at the JS, so hopefully that means more timely coverage.
- Sean Deveney reads between the lines of the Yi press conference:
That brings us back to the assertions made here yesterday, which are that Yi's mini-holdout has worked out nicely for him, because he has guaranteed himself playing time in the Bucks' crowded frontcourt situation. If he had simply signed a rookie contract in early July, it might have been easy for him to get lost in the shuffle as a rookie.I have to say I disagree with this to some extent. How many 4s are on the Bucks roster? I see Charlie Villanueva and, gulp, Damir Markota. To think that Jake Voskuhl was going to be seeing tons of time at PF because the Bucks forgot about Yi doesn't make sense. Drafting Yi in the first place showed how highly the Bucks prized him, but where he might have helped himself is that the Bucks could have been hesitant to add a starting caliber PF (like Darko Milicic or Andres Nocioni) if they feared it would make signing Yi more difficult. I never heard the Bucks showed serious interest in Milicic or Nocioni, but it's not to say they would have had Yi signed early.
- Don Walker at the JS acknowledges Julie Lee, a Milwaukee lawyer who played a key role in helping the Bucks deal with the language/cultural barriers in the Yi deal.