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Yao Ming may enter 2010 free agent circus

Mar 29, 2010, 10:13 AM EDT

NBA_ming.jpgLeBron James. Dwyane Wade. Chris Bosh. Yao Ming?

Maybe. Just our luck, we could have one major free agent to follow this summer.

Yao can opt out of his $17.7 million deal after the season, even though he has not set foot on a court this year due to foot problems. He told the Houston Chronicle he might opt out, but he has given it no thought. Whatsoever.

Yao, 29, said he has not considered his options, but was noncommittal about whether he might opt out of his contract.

“I’m sure I’m not sure until after we discuss (it),” Yao said. “We have not started (to) discuss it yet, so I’m not sure, either way. I have to talk to my agent first before we start to decide where I need to go. If you ask my agent, he will say, ‘I have to ask Yao and we will start discussing it.'”

Yao’s agent, John Huizinga, had no comment.

Once again, this is what the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks have brought us.

A healthy Yao is a max player — he’s 7’6″, strong, has shooting touch out to 15 feet, can block shots and intimidate on defense. He dominates Dwight Howard when they face off. And he can get the second-best player on your team voted into the All-Star game by his legions of fans in China.

If he opts out now, Yao can get what will likely be a larger and longer max contract from somebody. If he waits until next summer, who knows what the max deal will be under the new CBA? If the owners get their way the max salary may be a $100 Target gift card.

Yao is an injury risk — he has played 57 games or fewer four of the last five years and is coming off major surgery that has kept him off the court an entire season. In today’s risk-averse NBA nobody is offering him a deal unless he can prove he is all the way back. But it’s got to be tempting, because when healthy he is one of a handful of players genuinely deserving of a max deal. And when GMs start missing out on the Big Three there will be pressure to do something.

  1. Dan - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Hi Kurt, please report a real story. Its common sense that Yao will not opt out. There is no way he will get $17M/year in the open market at this stage. He needs to supply proof of evidence (to play a full season).

  2. Jon - Mar 29, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Actually, not at all true. Yao would get more than that from every single team in the NBA simply because he brings hundreds of millions of fans with him. The NBA is a business and other than Kobe and Lebron (maybe not even other than), there is no one who would bring more revenue to a franchise than Yao Ming.
    From a basketball sense, yes, an oft-injured player needs to provide proof that he is recovered from his past injuries but again, the NBA is a business.

  3. James Kelley - Mar 29, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    I’ve been a rocket fan since I was kid and I think with the young team they have and a healthy Yao Ming they could due alot of damage in the west in 2011. The team is going in the right direcrion.

  4. Joey - Mar 30, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    I would be suprised if Yao gets more then 10-12 mil per on a new long term deal. Yao is a very good shooter and plays above average defense… his 2 major draw backs are injury history and mobility. Yao would look great in portland or perhaps another half court team. He can’t play a run and gun style which is what the rockets have transitioned to.

  5. Jon - Mar 30, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    10-12 Mil deal. lol. anyways, I think what Coach Adelman sees in this team will actually work out. This year, yes, they are somewhat of a run and gun team but next year, with Yao back, it will be a little different. The idea is that with Yao back, we will get more defensive stops, once we get the rebound/steal, all our runners (brooks, lowry, martin etc.) will go for a quick lay-up. If they can’t get an easy shot, they will set up and wait for yao to setup in the post and he will get a touch each and everytime they are unable to get an easy shot.

  6. SMYTH - May 15, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Yao and Tracy will go to Orlando for the vet’s minimum. Yao will take it easy playing small minutes behind D12 and he and Tracy will enjoy the rest of their days in the NBA winning a few rings.

  7. Sigma Nu - Jun 4, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Ok, Yao Ming is way too much of risk factor to take ATM. Tho as said earler, he does bring in ALOT of fans and money around the world. If Lebron James Stays in Cavs it will be a good idea for the Cavs to Gun for Yao is possible because of money issues and Fame. James and a HEALTHY YAO would be unstopable. Guess we just have to wait and see…

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