Los Angeles Lakers sign Chinese Olympian Yi Jianlian

Jianlian Yi of China shoots over Harrison Barnes of United States in the Men's Preliminary Round Group A match on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Image copyright Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Chinese Olympian and power forward Yi Jianlian following his performance at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

He averaged 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in five games.

The 28-year-old last played in the NBA in 2012 with the Dallas Mavericks.

He has spent the past four seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association and is considered the second most popular player on the mainland, after Yao Ming.

The LA Lakers did not disclose Yi's contract details, but reports say he is signed for one year, with a veterans' minimum of $1.1m that could reach $8m with bonuses.

"We're excited to have a player of his worldwide accomplishments," LA Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.

"We look forward to bringing him to training camp and hopefully having him make an impact on our team."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Will Yi Jianlin (right) is considered the second most popular player on the mainland, after Yao Ming (left)

The LA Lakers has been trawling the bottom of the NBA table for the past few seasons and recently lost their top player, Kobe Bryant, to retirement.

Basketball has a huge following in China, where an estimated 300 million people - the population of the United States - play the sport.

The mainland is a highly-lucrative commercial market for many NBA teams, where stars like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are household names.

Earlier this year, a Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang became a minority holder in the Minnesota Timberwolves.