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Lakers officially announce Yi Jianlian signing

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One can’t help but feel as if this further jumbles an already crowded front court.

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The Los Angeles Lakers proved last season that they will leave no stone unturned when it comes to constructing their roster when they invited Marcelo Huertas to training camp and the two sides agreed on a deal.

This year, they have gone down a similar path, but with a much more well-known name among the NBA ranks. For a little while now, the Lakers and former No. 6 overall pick Yi Jianlian have been linked to one another. On Monday, the team officially announced that they have signed Jianlian, though the terms of the deal were not released, per team policy.

Jianlian last played in the NBA in 2011-12 with the Dallas Mavericks before heading back to China to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

The signing comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the amount of front court players already on the roster. Along with Timofey Mozgov, Tarik Black and Ivica Zubac at center, the Lakers also have power forwards Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Jr. and reportedly have a deal to bring in Zach Auguste to training camp. Not to mention Luol Deng, who will likely log minutes at both the three and the four for Los Angeles.

Despite the logjam on the front line, Jianlian, 28, can still offer a skill set that fits well with what head coach Luke Walton wants to run. Jianlian’s ability to play both the four and the five could help his case for some playing time, along with his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting.

Additionally, his presence could help the Lakers off the court by appealing to the enormous market in Asia, now that Kobe Bryant is retired.

Only time will tell how much of an impact Jianlian can make for the Lakers on the court. With so many players fighting for minutes, it should make for some interesting battles in training camp, which is just about a month away.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @garykester.