Mavericks have deal in place with Chinese 7-footer Yi Jianlian

The slow-starting Dallas Mavericks have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, reports. Yi will start with the Mavs’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends in Frisco, while he rehabs from the knee injury he suffered while playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association this season, according to the report.

The Mavericks have been looking for inside help because of Tyson Chandler’s departure to the New York Knicks. They remain interested in Kyrylo Fesenko, ESPN reports, but since Yi will become the 15th player on the roster, they’d have to cut someone else to make room for the 7-1, 290-pound Ukranian big man.

Yi led China to a gold-medal finish in the FIBA Asia Championship this summer, which secured the country's spot in the 2012 London Olympics. He finished with 25 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks in the final game and was named tournament MVP.

Yi also considered joining the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs before deciding on Dallas, the website reports.

This will be Yi’s fifth season in the NBA. He spent last season with the Washington Wizards, the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, and his rookie season of 2007-08 with the Milwaukee Bucks. He has career averages of 8.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks.