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Lakers signing Yi Jianlian to 1-year, $8 million contract, according to report

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The team may have found a use for their open roster spot.

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Preliminary Round SRB vs CHN Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Update 2: The Lakers are close to signing Yi Jianlian to a one-year deal worth approximately $8 million, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

What’s the plan, you may ask? The Lakers hope to play him as a backup center, according to Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable SportsNet:

Update: The People’s Daily, China is reporting the Lakers have agreed to a one-year deal with Jianlian worth approximately the veteran’s minimum. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for the latest. Original story follows.

The Los Angeles Lakers “are in advanced discussions to try to bring China star Yi Jianlian back to the NBA,” according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The Lakers currently have 14 players on their roster, one slot below the league maximum of 15, and could create an additional spot should they act on their reported interest in moving on from Nick Young.

Jianlian last played in the NBA in 2012, when he appeared in 30 games and averaged 6.8 minutes per appearance for the Dallas Mavericks. More recently, Jianlian was the third leading scorer at the Olympics with 20.4 points per game. However, his 43.9 percent shooting screams “someone had to score,” especially on an overmatched Chinese National team went 0-5 and failed to make it out of group play (and lost their final game by 44 points).

(Update: Stein reports Jianlian’s play in the Olympics is partially behind the Lakers’ increased interest in him)

This would certainly be an... unexpected... addition for the Lakers, but it wouldn’t be the least believable thing to ever happen if Jianlian ended up being worth a flier for the minimum, should the team actually bring the former sixth overall pick stateside.

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