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Could Yao Ming leave the Rockets?

May 18, 2010, 1:50 PM EDT

NBA_ming.jpgAccording to Hoopchina (the original article is in Chinese, but the good folks at The Hoops Market were kind enough to translate), Yao Ming and the Rockets could be parting ways in the not-too-distant future. The article states that talks about an extension between the Rockets and their center have become “delicate,” as Yao wants a six-year extension while the team is only willing to offer four. If the two sides cannot agree on a deal, Yao could walk when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. 

If these reports are true, the Rockets are in a tough spot. On the one hand, Yao is one of the league’s best centers when healthy, and his combination of hulking size, amazing skill, and marketability make him a hard player to let go of. On the other hand, he hasn’t shown that he can stay healthy, the team has never been a legitimate threat to win the title with Yao, and six years is a very long contract for a player with health issues as severe as Yao’s have been. After eight years in a Rockets uniform, it’s hard to picture Yao playing for any team other than Houston. But if Yao and the Houston management team can’t come to a deal soon, the Yao era in Houston could come to an end after next season. 
  1. clarence thomas - May 18, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    i dont want him to leave i love him an im a big rockets fan please keep him do something

  2. Jeff - May 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    I am a yao fan, but he, like mcgrady, cant finish an entire season. is he truely worth the money when he is sitting on the sidelines.

  3. gigantichammer - May 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    The only reason I watch the Rockets play is because of Yao. If he goes to another team I will watching the other team and buy their gear. It’s that simple. I honestly like the Rockets but if I had to choose, I would choose Yao.

  4. RG - May 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    I think a 4 year extension is fair. No team will give him more years with his history of injuries. Yao needs to sign that 4 year extetion soon because if he gets hurt next season on the last year of his contract, other teams will offer much less. Yao turns 30 this year. He only has about 4 years left in him. A six year extension would mean seven more years of using a max salary contract on a player who might have already hit his peak. Rockets need to stick with the 4 year plan.

  5. Jim - May 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Offer 5 year deal!

  6. lawrence - May 19, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    if Yao can not stay health next season, and his weight is cracking any of his feet again, then Rockets won’t carry him for any long contract. Yao better plays limited minutes and stay health and don’t play for China in summer or off season, the big guy is not built for playing 9~10 months a year with 300 lbs on his feet.
    15~20 mins for 60 games next season would help him stay health, anything more than that would seriously hurt his career span.

  7. Big Stevie - May 20, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Then you, my friend, have no team. If you only cheer for a player, you exclude yourself from the team concept. I’ve always liked Yao, too, but in all practicality, he has serious issues with his feet. His career could effectively be over, and the Rockets could find themselves in the same position that they were in with McGrady – a player who can’t play, but can still collect a huge paycheck. I don’t want to see Yao go either, but I do question the wisdom in keeping him…..

  8. Jason - May 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Big Stevie you are right on the $ my friend. I could not agree more. Iam as big of fan of Yao’s as anybody, but he is not above the team. If you make me choose between Yao and the Rockets, I will choose the Rockets any day. Six years does sound to me like an awful demanding long term deal when we don’t even know what the state of his health will be for even 1 season. Yao’s career could be unfortunately over. These foot injuries have and probably always will plague him for the rest of his career. I don’t blame the Rockets at all for not wanting to jump into that type of commitment. It would be a sad day indeed to see the great wall leave, but it is what it is.

  9. hwtowngirl15 - May 20, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    I would give him the 6 years he is asking for in contract worded as follows:
    If you remain healthy for 3 years (we will limit your playing time to 25 minutes a game) and rest during the offseason (i.e no playing for China) we will honor the additional 3.
    Note: Remaining healthy is contingent on you returning from the foot injury to begin with.
    Signed….Rocket’s Fans

  10. Matt D - May 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    It would be a bad management decision for the Houston Rockets to sign Yao to a six year max contract. Period. Yao’s handlers are being unreasonable. His health is questionable. His heart and abilty is better than any center in the game; but you don’t make over half a decade decision on just heart and ability. If you can’t come to terms with him, trade him! I love Yao basket game, but a 6 year max contract is a bad managemet decision. Michael Jordon, when he started get up in age, signed one year deals at 20 and 30 mill. come on Yao!

  11. khris777 - May 20, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Sounds pretty greedy of him for a marxist. Let him go then…pffft. I watched the Rockets all this season and love the players, I don’t need Yao to be a fan of this team.

  12. fireknocker - May 24, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    for that reason that this houston organization can never show support to their star player that they can’t get over the hump.Yoa will go to another that will play him for the true center that he is and will probly win a championship with him .

  13. Anonymous - May 31, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    As a Yao Ming fan, I would like to see him on another team. He worked very hard to get to where he is now. I would like to see him with a ring and there is no way he can do it on the Rockets unless they get Lebron James or Kobe Bryant which I highly doubt. GO TO ANOTHER TEAM YAO… THE ROCKETS ARE HOLDING YOU BACK!!!!

  14. leo - Jun 13, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    what a dumbass he aint worth a dam let yao go back to china r u crasy dude you dont know sh yao is holding the rockets back check your data before you talk

  15. Benny - Jun 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    I agree with leo my team the Denver nugget we got Carmelo dunking all over his ass. forget him trade him to the Bucks or something lol

  16. ced - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    i hope so, yao ming sucks and i am sick & tired of having to watch his slow clumsy ass! No superstar wants to play with him because he’s injury prone. i said they should have moved him years ago now the rockets are stuck with him and his bad feet.

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