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Johnson: "Unfortunately, I Didn't Have Chance To Work With Yi"

In an interview with China's leading English language newspaper, Avery Johnson says it's too bad the Nets matchup with the Rockets next week isn't also a battle between Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian

The Nets coach was part of the front office when the team traded Yi in a salary dump just before free agency, but says he wishes he could have worked with the seven-footer. "Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to work with Yi," he told China Daily, adding, "he will definitely have great opportunity in Washington."

That said, the Nets coach told the paper the Nets will be bringing "a young and exiting team, which is led by Brook Lopez and Devin Harris" to Beijing and Guangzhou. 

He also praised Derrick Favors (who he implied is still growing), describing him again as "the combination of Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and a little bit of Amare Stoudemire."  Johnson suggested the Nets may be making another stop on their world tour, saying he hopes to get the chance to visit "Yao Ming's hometown, Shanghai."