NBA: Lakers waive Chinese forward Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts to dribble around Jared Dudley #3 of the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Honda Centre on Oct 21, 2016.
Yi Jianlian #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts to dribble around Jared Dudley #3 of the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Honda Centre on Oct 21, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Chinese forward-centre Yi Jianlian has been waived by the Los Angeles Lakers after requesting to be released, the NBA club announced Monday.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Yi had sought to be waived over concerns he would not get enough minutes on court.

"Yi was productive in practices and games with us, and was a consummate professional both on and off the court," Kupchak said in a statement.

"However, he felt that the minutes and opportunities he'd be afforded here were not in line with his goals and ambitions, and that he'd be better off in a different situation.

"We appreciate his efforts and wish him great success as he goes forward with his career."

Yi, who was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks as the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, had averaged three points and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Lakers during six pre-season contests.

The 28-year-old had targeted an NBA comeback after a four-year hiatus from the league. Ye signed a one-year deal in August with the Lakers for US$1.14 million (S$1.59 million) which could have been worth up to US$8 million with incentives and bonuses.

The native Cantonese-speaking Yi played in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers from 2012-2016 and was the cornerstone for the Chinese national team at the Rio Olympics.