WASHINGTON — Chinese star forward Yi Jianlian has agreed to a one-year NBA deal with the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks, according to reports on Sunday on ESPN and in Dallas area newspapers.
Yi, who suffered a knee injury while playing for Guangdong Southern Tigers, will report to the Texas Legends developmental-league squad to improve his conditioning before joining the Mavericks.
The Legends are coached by Del Harris, who guided China’s 2004 Olympic squad to an eighth-place showing at Athens.
In four NBA seasons with Milwaukee, New Jersey and Washington, Yi has averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time a game. Last season, he averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds for Washington.
Yi, 24, was a free agent after helping China qualify for a berth in the 2012 London Olympics last year. He averaged 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in three Chinese league games but was hurt after a teammate fell on him during a game.
Yi had also considered NBA pitches from San Antonio and Golden State before agreeing to terms with Dallas, ESPN reported.
The Mavericks were the first team in NBA history to have a Chinese player, with Wang Zhi-Zhi making his breakthrough appearance with the team in 2002.