Talk of the town: Kohl wants to meet with Yi

In theory, Yi Jianlian is a Milwaukee Buck, but the team wants to see if its first-round draft pick is at all committed to the program.

Via letter, Bucks owner Herb Kohl has requested a meeting with Yi, who has made clear his desire to play in a city with a heavy Asian influence. His agents are seeking to force a trade.

"We're going to try to establish personal contact with him and his family," Kohl said, according to a story in Monday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I wrote him a letter yesterday [Friday]. I requested a meeting with him and his family.

"Our basketball people, our general manager and coach, we're all in the process of reaching out to try to establish a constructive dialogue with him and his family and his representatives," Kohl said.

After being drafted on Thursday night in New York, Yi's camp didn't hold the traditional post-draft day news conference in Milwaukee Friday and left the Big Apple for Dallas, where he is playing with the Chinese national team against the United States' 19-and-under national team.

In Dallas on Sunday, when asked if he'd had any contact with the Bucks, the 7-foot power forward said, "I don't want to talk about that."

Yi Jianlian


Agent Dan Fegan pushed for the 19-year-old Yi to go to a city with a larger Asian-American population, and Bucks general manager Larry Harris said Fegan was shocked that Milwaukee selected him with the sixth pick. According to Census data, Milwaukee has a little more than 1,200 Chinese residents among its population of nearly 600,000.

"We feel that the Bucks are not the best fit for Yi Jianlian," Yi's Chinese agent, Zhao Gang, told SportsTicker. "Our team will make contact with other teams who have watched Yi's training and games to see if there is any possibility of a trade."

Harris has said he does not want to trade Yi. The forward does have the option of returning to his team in the Chinese Basketball Association, the Guangdong Tigers, but the Bucks would retain his NBA rights.

Yi would be the fourth Chinese player to make the NBA. He played on China's 2004 Olympic team and 2006 world championship team. In the Chinese Basketball Association this season, he averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds with the Guangdong Tigers.

On Sunday he had 15 points and eight rebounds in China's 91-75 loss to the United States' 19-and-under national team. Yi scored 11 points in the fourth quarter after the U.S. team had stretched its lead to 20 points.

China will play another exhibition Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks' summer league team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.