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Dodging the Draft

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ESPN is reporting that Yi Jianlian will "definitely not" play for the Bucks, by order of his national team. You know, it's probably a good thing I'm running short on time tonight. Otherwise, fresh on the heels of a week spent watching a summer league filled with guys who would happily be the 12th man on worst team ever for a chance to play in the NBA, this news would likely inspire a lengthy tirade that's best left unwritten. This isn't even the Suns' guy after all, so I guess it isn't my place to get all worked up about it. However, the Suns were looking at him prior to the draft, and there's the slightest possibility he could have been their selection had Atlanta's pick fallen their way. Which begs the question, would he have even played here if he'd been selected? It seems the claim from his team back home now is that there were concerns that Yi wouldn't get enough playing time on the Bucks to develop properly as a player:

"This is not -- as media reports have said -- because Milwaukee, as a city with very few Chinese people, is not good for Yi's commercial development," [Guangdong Tigers chief, Chen Haitao] said.
Chen expressed concern that Yi would have trouble getting playing time with the Bucks, whose squad boasts Australian 7-footer Andrew Bogut and a number of other tall young players.

To that I say: Huh?!? Weren't the Suns on Yi's list of acceptable destinations? I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. At the very least, his handlers didn't seem to mind when Steve Kerr, David Griffin, and Vinny Del Negro went to watch him work out in Los Angeles. So if the concern is the amount of playing time, why on earth would they expect he'd get more of that on a championship contender infamous for using a short rotation than he would playing for Milwaukee? Had the Suns drafted Yi, would his people have made guaranteeing a certain number of minutes a provision for his signing? I can't imagine the Suns would have gone along with that, and you know what? That's fine by me. The more I hear about Yi, the more grateful I am that the Suns are not the ones involved in this mess. Some team is likely going to take Yi off Milwaukee's hands for pennies on the dollar. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near when that happens. The amount of bad karma that's going to create will be around for the next decade!

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