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Team owner rules out Yi playing in China next season

The owner of Yi Jianlian's Chinese basketball team now says he was misquoted by the Beijing News when he was reported as saying Yi would "definitely not" play for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, according to PA Sportswire.

According to a transcript of his conference call with Chinese media earlier this week, Chen, the owner of the Guangdong Tigers, "specifically ruled out the possibility of Yi playing in the Chinese league next year," PA Sportswire reported.

However, Chen did say that the team "was trying to help [Yi] obtain a trade" from the Bucks, who drafted him in the first round.

In earlier reports, Chen was quoted as saying a lack of playing time was the primary reason Yi would not play for the Bucks. He said the Tigers were hoping to find a team that would be suiutable for Yi's growth as a player, with an eye toward developing him for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

But later reports quoted Guangdong vice chairman Liu Hong Xinjiang as saying Yi eventually could play for the Bucks.