Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Guangdong Tigers deny `Yi won't go to the Bucks' story

AP , BEIJING

A Beijing newspaper yesterday was investigating a story it published this week, quoting Chen Haitao -- the owner of the Guangdong Tigers basketball club -- saying forward Yi Jianlian would "definitely not" sign with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yi was drafted No. 6 two weeks ago and is expected to be the fourth Chinese to play in the NBA.

The Chinese-language Beijing News said it stood by its story, but a top Guangdong club official said it was untrue and the club had not spoken with the newspaper.

Wang Jin, chief sports editor with the newspaper, said yesterday that its story was accurate. He said the reporter involved conducted a telephone interview with Chen, who was quoted saying Yi might return to the Chinese Basketball Association.

Wang said it was unclear why club officials deny having talked with the newspaper.

Liu Hongjiang, a club vice president, said club officials had not talked with the newspaper.

"The reporter never interviewed anyone at the club," Liu said.

Liu said he spoke later with the reporter and "expressed strong anger."

"The club supports Yi playing in the NBA and is very willing to work with the Bucks," Liu said. "We are waiting for any chance to cooperate with the Bucks."

Liu said he believes Milwaukee is "not a suitable team for Yi, but this is not the same thing as saying he will not play with Milwaukee."

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