Friday, June 29, 2007

With the #6 pick in the NBA draft, the Bucks select...


In one of the more surprising moves in the Bucks and NBA history, the Bucks took Chinese PF/C Yi Jianlian (pronounced EE TEE-an-LEE-an).

Now, it has come out that Yi's agent (Dan Fegan) came right out and told the Bucks prior to the draft that Yi would not play in Milwaukee. They were so serious about this that they barred the Bucks from coming to any workouts Yi had in the states and would not allow him to have an individual workout with them.

Bucks GM Lenny Harris saw 2 things:

1 - Yi is a big time talent that could really help the Bucks.
2 - The Bucks would have an "in" into China's marketing base, population 1.5 billion. Can you say "Cha-Ching"?

Harris decided that the team needed him and the Bucks could not pass up this opportunity. Now the rumor is that Fegan is going to formally request that the Bucks trade Yi. To this I agree with how Ty over at Bucks Diary feels:

If I were Larry Harris I would absolutely and categorically refuse such a request on the spot. Harris was right to defy their original efforts to avoid a selection by the Bucks, and having done that, it is imperative now that he sticks to his guns. Giving in to the ridiculous demand at this point would do nothing but harm the Bucks and set a dangerous precedent that, once established, would damage the future interests of small market teams like Milwaukee.

Harris' message to Yi's representatives should be direct and simple: If Yi wants to play in the NBA, he must do so in Milwaukee. End of discussion. The sooner he gets that through his skull, the better for him. A protracted holdout, or a return to China, would be a seriously foolish move, as it would only serve to hurt his pocketbook and his marketability. It would cost him NBA paychecks he can never recover, and it would damage his public reputation and squander away the precious goodwill his representatives hope to cash in on through their various endorsement schemes. He has no rational choice but to play for the Bucks.

Sorry Yi, you enter the draft and take your chances on where you are picked. That's the nature of all sports in the US and you have to live with it. Now, after you're done with your Chinese team duties in Vegas and such, get your ass to Milwaukee and see for yourself how it is. You may want to stop by Summerfest. That will change your trade demands real quick.

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