Wednesday , Aug , 01 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Dispute Between Yi Jianlan & Milwaukee Bucks Could get Even Uglier

A dispute between a teenage basketball prospect and an NBA franchise has practically become an international incident with Chinese basketball officials and the city of Milwaukee facing off. Unfortunately, no former President or international body is available to mediate the dispute between Yi and Alice Cooper’s favorite city, so I’ll offer a few pearls of wisdom …

Reuters provides an update on the Yi-Milwaukee Bucks standoff:

‘s top basketball official will travel to the to try and end the standoff between the Milwaukee Bucks and their top draft pick Yi Jianliang, state media reported on Tuesday.

The seven-foot power forward is reported to have snubbed a move to Milwaukee despite being the overall sixth choice in June’s draft and faces a year away from the NBA if he cannot resolve the dispute or secure a trade.

Yi is currently playing for in the Stankovic Cup in his home province of Guangdong but an expected visit by Bucks’ officials to discuss the stalemate has not materialized, the China Daily reported.

My Quick Take: A dispute between a teenage basketball prospect and an NBA franchise has practically become an international incident with Chinese basketball officials and the city of facing off. Unfortunately, no former President or international body is available to mediate the dispute between Yi and Alice Cooper’s favorite city, so I’ll offer a few pearls of wisdom.

Yi has the right to play wherever he likes. He can pursue his profession in any league or country. However, as other authors on this site have correctly pointed out, he gave up that right when he decided to make himself available for the NBA Draft. He made his choice. And he chose The Association.

I have nothing against Yi as a person. I don’t know him. I do have something against any young player, Steve Francis and Danny Ferry included, who tries to change an established system that maintains the competitive balance of the league.

Yi and his handlers have made one thing clear: they have little or no interest in Milwaukee. Okay. Again, camp Yi chose the NBA and didn’t like the hand they were dealt. Now they want the entire system to change for them.

I don’t condone this action, but others have hi-jacked the NBA Draft to serve their own individual interests. The least Yi and his handlers can do is to stay in China until this situation cools off. Let the Bucks, who have been fair throughout the entire process, decide their next step without any outside pressure.

Sending over a national official only inflames the situation. It’s like rubbing salt in Milwaukee’s wounds. You’ve made your position known. The Bucks get it: Yi isn’t down. The team avoided sending a representative to China and wants space to decide their next course of action. Fair enough. Yi’s handlers should respect the Bucks’ request.

At this point, Milwaukee could conceivably cut ties with Yi and pursue a trade. But this visit from Yi’s handlers is risky; it could turn negotiations into a pissing contest between Chinese officials and Milwaukee. And the NBA club could decide to hang onto Yi’s rights out of spite. Then things would get really ugly.

The Bucks and Yi must tread carefully or former Presidents and international bodies will be needed to mediate this dispute.

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