Yi Jianlian traded to the New Jersey Nets.
Sources told ESPN.com that the deal has been agreed to and submitted for league approval in advance of Thursday night’s draft. No draft picks are involved in the trade, sources said.
Such a swap would create an estimated $10-plus million in long-term savings for the Nets as they continue to re-shape their team after trading another mainstay — point guard Jason Kidd — to Dallas in February.
The trade would also enable Yi to make a move to the larger media market he was hoping for this time last year, when Milwaukee drafted him out of China with the sixth overall pick. Kiki Vandeweghe, New Jersey’s new general manager alongside team president Rod Thorn, is a longstanding Yi fan who has frequently likened the 7-footer’s perimeter skills and potential to Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.
The Bucks, meanwhile, would be supplying new coach Scott Skiles with a veteran player coming off his best season to fill a problem position. Jefferson averaged 22.7 points per game last season and played all 82 games after an injury-plagued 2006-07 season.