Report: Chinese team says Bucks not best for Yi
Chen Haitao, owner of the Guangdong Tigers -- Yi's former team -- said the 6-foot-11 power forward will "definitely not" sign with Milwaukee and could be headed back to the Chinese Basketball Association.
"If the Bucks insist, Yi will go back to the CBA," Chen told the Chinese-language Beijing News on Tuesday.
Yi was the sixth player picked in the NBA draft and had his first meeting earlier this month with Bucks general manager Larry Harris and coach Larry Krystkowiak. His agent, Dan Fegan, has pushed for a trade and wants Yi in a city with a large Asian influence -- or at least a larger city.
It won't be Milwaukee, and the main sticking point is not the lack of Chinese-Americans in the city, Chen said.
"And it's not about Yi's commercial interests," Chen said. "We want to find a team that is good for Yi's development. That's the root of the problem."
Chen was unclear why the Bucks were a poor team for his development, but said Milwaukee had too many tall players like Yi. He also said the 2008 Beijing Olympics were a factor.
"The national team and the Olympic Games are now a key factor in considerations," Chen said. "If Yi goes to a team where he can't keep up his level of play, that wouldn't be good for the national team."
The whole situation has left the Bucks bewildered.
"We have seen confusing reports on what was said," Bucks spokesman Dan Smyczek said Tuesday night. "We're looking into getting more information to verify what was reported."
In a poll earlier this month by the Beijing-based China Daily newspaper, 68 percent of 9,000 respondents wanted Yi to join the Bucks.
Former China national team coach Qian Chenghai also supported playing with Milwaukee.
"We don't want to see Yi destroy his reputation in the NBA and return to the Chinese Basketball Association," Qian said last week. "That's horrible."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press