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[Chron] Rockets want Yao Ming to stay put

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by LegendZ3, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. LegendZ3

    LegendZ3 Contributing Member

    Nov 6, 2002
    Likes Received:
    [Chron]Rockets want Yao Ming to stay put


    Rockets want Yao Ming to stay put
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    When the Rockets traded Kenny Thomas, Yao Ming was shocked. Trades can do that to teammates, but Yao's reaction was different.

    Until then, back when he was a NBA rookie, he did not know there could be trades during the season. He knows now.

    Since then, every teammate but Maurice Taylor and every coach but Dean Cooper, now the director of scouting, has moved on. But Yao is still stunned and even a bit saddened with every move.

    The Rockets have been rebuilt and will continue to change to become a better team than they believed they would have been. But the key to all that will be keeping their 7-6 center of everything.

    Yao had always assumed he would spend his career in Houston and was happy with that. But he has learned the ways of the NBA. The Rockets' overhaul might have cost them that assumption. That does not mean it will cost them Yao.

    Yao has offered no signs of developing a wandering eye.

    "I love it here," he said. "I always have, since my rookie year. I still love it."

    The Rockets, however, will take no chances. They can lock up Yao with a contract extension next summer, a year before any other team can talk to him.

    But the Lakers, with Rudy Tomjanovich as coach, will have money to spend the next season. Yao would seem loath to step on the Los Angeles stage, but his marketing interests would love it. Orlando will have Grant Hill's money to spend the next year. Yao always thought he would spend his career with Steve Francis. And Orlando would be a comfortable, low-key home.

    The Rockets, however, can benefit from such threats if only because they can keep them from taking anything for granted.

    Sources said that when Yao, still incredibly loyal to his team and teammates, was stunned by the trade of Tyronn Lue last week, trainer and vice president Keith Jones talked with him about why the team was being shaped around him and Tracy McGrady. Team Yao members are still close with general manager Carroll Dawson, and have not forgotten how Dawson handled the difficult talks in China after the draft. Yao still considers Dawson to be almost a part of the family.

    Yao, a quick learner, has come to know why the Rockets have changed so much. But the Rockets best hope to keep him might be that he hasn't.

    Sharper passes

    The Rockets' recent trades have through two games had the desired effect, even while Jon Barry and David Wesley has struggled with their shots.

    The ball movement has been crisper. It has been more difficult to double-team Tracy McGrady. Most of all, Wesley rather than McGrady has defended top scorers, running through the maze of screens and applying ball pressure so McGrady did not have to. With defense in mind, sources said the Rockets were close to landing Mike James for Nachbar and Reece Gaines before the Bucks balked.

    The deals made and not made, particularly the trade of Jim Jackson indicated the difficulty the Rockets have had moving one of their excess power forwards with long contracts. The contracts of Tyronn Lue and Bostjan Nachbar are up after the season. Jackson has only next season left.

    Up to old tricks?

    Orlando's happy ride has hit a few bumps. Rolling along at 13-6, they have lost 6 of 8. The Knicks and Bucks scored 119 and 11 points, respectively, against the Magic's disappearing defense, with both playing the second half of back-to-backs.

    "This is not a 15-12 team, man," Cuttino Mobley said. "Definitely we're about to find out whether this team will stay together or fall apart. I just don't think we're playing tough enough. We play tough when we get down, but we've got to play tough when we're up 20 and send a message. We're not a great team; we're an OK team. To be great you've got to be consistent at what you do best and for us that's running."

    Defense is a sore subject in Orlando. The Magic were last in the NBA in points allowed, field goal percentage allowed, blocks and steals last season. They gave up 101.1 points a game last year. The re-tooled, much more up-tempo model is allowing 101.5 this season.

    An unfair shake

    When LeBron James was left with a broken cheekbone after a collision with Dikembe Mutombo's elbow, the Extreme Screaming Programming Network rolled out its tapes of Mutombo elbows breaking various body part over the years.

    No one bothered to mention, however, that this week's collision was inadvertent and unavoidable. Mutombo did not throw an elbow. He did not even move his elbow.

    Cavaliers coach Paul Silas, who absolutely would have said otherwise had it been true, chose to consider facts instead of reputation.

    "Dikembe has some sharp elbows," Silas said, "but this was an accident, a total accident. LeBron was going for the ball and ran into Dikembe's elbow. It was a hard elbow."

    Team of turmoil

    Things will get ugly -- uglier -- in Toronto now that the veterans have been benched and Vince Carter is not around to be blamed for everything from the hockey lockout to the weather.

    Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Lamond are unhappy coming off the bench. Neither is Loren Woods, but the Raptors are probably not too worried about how happy he is.

    "I've never been one to really complain but it has been frustrating lately," said Marshall, who is in a contract year. "It's just a frustrating period knowing what I did in a starting role last year for this team, and now being asked to take a lesser role. I still feel I have a lot in the tank." Rose was demoted immediately after the Carter trade and Raptors rookie coach Sam Mitchell was typically candid about his logic.

    "I didn't change the lineup because of scoring. I changed the lineup because of rebounding and defense," Mitchell said. "Everyone in this league knows Jalen can score, and I respect the fact that Jalen has been a professional and has done his job. But I just felt like we needed a different element."

    Season for reflection

    Kevin Garnett's excellence and passion could carry the Timberwolves through most rough spots. For that matter, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell have always been determined players on game nights.

    But it has been a much more tense, trying season for the Timberwolves, the kind that in the unforgiving West does not bode as well as they expected, from Cassell and Sprewell demanding contract extensions to Michael Olowokandi's late-night arrest.

    "It would be wrong if it didn't concern me," Minnesota owner Glen Taylor said. "I think we could have played better and have a better record now. We have too good of a team to be where we are. Its just been a number of little distractions along the way, and its interesting that the little distractions can keep a team from being as good as it should be."

    Sprewell, making $14.6 million this season, turned down a three-year, $21 million extension offer because he did not want a pay cut. He said he would not sign with the Timberwolves as a free agent.

    "We were willing to do a contract, but he said he wanted the same pay," Taylor said. "I'm not negotiating because that's not anywhere where we're going to be. Nothing has happened."

    Cassell, with two years left on his deal, missed the first day of training camp because he wanted an extension.

    "Quite frankly, I'm real comfortable letting it ride," Taylor said. "No. 1, we'll determine at the end of the year if (Sprewell) really wants to play here. No. 2, we better win this year or what am I doing here with older guys?"

    Hitting notes to a T

    The Mavericks' Jerry Stackhouse did a terrific job with the national anthem last week, performing before celebrity lip-syncher Ashlee Simpson. The game did not go as well. Stackhouse was ejected from this game against the Celtics.

    "He sings in the locker room all the time," forward Dirk Nowitzki joked. "It's getting to the point where it's a bit much."

    Official Gary Zielinski felt the same way. But Stackhouse said he earned the first technical, but not the second.

    "(Zielinski) tried to bait me," he said.

    `Trying to be great'

    Brent Barry went from locked down on the bench to starting with Manu Ginobili out for a game this week, an indication that the Spurs believe he will still be valuable. They are usually right about such things.

    Barry, who signed a four-year, $20.7-million free-agent deal, was second in the NBA in 3-point percentage (.452) last season. He is shooting .394 from the field and.287 from the 3-point arc this season.

    "Brent has been trying to be great," Gregg Popovich said. "If he is not great, he is really hard on himself. He probably gets dejected and thinks he is losing our respect or disappointing us. He has a tendency to predicate his game on offense, and he has not shot well yet. We are trying to do two things with him -- use humor and get him to concentrate on D (defense).

    "We tell him how on fire he is and try to get him laughing. We don't want to screw up somebody's brain over it. It's not that big a deal. We want him to concentrate on running the floor, playing D and doing the things we know he can do."

    Ginobili is sensational, and Devin Brown has been a terrific find. But Barry's time will come.

    Sideshow Bob

    New Suns owner Robert Sarver is getting a bit loony with the Suns' success. It's not so much that he sits at midcourt with his giant foam finger screaming. He has fashioned himself an apprentice to the Gorilla, rolling himself intro trash cans during a timeout in one game and offering a trampoline dunk in another game last week.

    He made the dunk on his third try after he joined a Mike D'Antoni timeout huddle to borrow Amare Stoudemire's headband.

    With the Suns in town on Wednesday, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander might want to start stretching.

  2. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Extreme Screaming Programming Network
  3. nappdog

    nappdog Contributing Member

    Nov 30, 2002
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    Wouldn't it funny if Yao decides to skip town and join Kobe and Rudy in LA? He could even phase his exit in a comedic way like: Hey man, this is America so business is business....don't hate the playa, hate the game.:eek:
  4. Rockets2K

    Rockets2K Clutch Crew
    Staff Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Likes Received:


    it wouldnt be funny.
  5. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

    Jan 1, 2001
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    Interesting to hear that Nachbar and Gaines were offered for James. It was obviously in our favor and the Bucks turned it down. I wonder how they would have reacted to a JJ plus Nachbar offer, but then again maybe JJ would have refused to go there.
  6. superden

    superden Contributing Member

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    man...that would have been a sweet trade...boki and gaines for mike james... i still miss boki though
  7. munco

    munco Member

    Feb 13, 2003
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    i agree... james would've been great. although i think boki will play better.
  8. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member
    Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 1999
    Likes Received:

    I guess this is a reason to keep CD

    Rocket River
  9. Hicklander

    Hicklander Contributing Member

    Aug 19, 2003
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    So a commercial with boki today..... almost a tear
  10. rockingsoul

    rockingsoul Contributing Member

    Feb 16, 2004
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    I am a little bit confused. Why do they say that Rox's best hope of keeping Yao is, if Yao still hasn't quite figured out why Rox have changed so much? I thought it would be the other way around. Yao should be more motivated to stay if he understands that the team changed so much because of him, because ROX wanted to find better pieces to suite Yao's talent. Did I miss something?
  11. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    Likes Received:
    they mean the rockets hope that yao hasn't changed (read: he still likes us) not that he hasn't figured out why we've changed.

    as for the article, it was interesting to learn that the rockets want yao to stay on the rockets. i had been unclear on this until now.
  12. m_cable

    m_cable Contributing Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Yeah, it's good to know. Although I'm still waiting on word about T-Mac. There was the whole max extension thing, but I think people are reading too much into it.
  13. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member

    Aug 12, 2001
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    I say be gone with your soft self.
  14. Rockets_Truth

    Rockets_Truth Contributing Member

    Aug 13, 2002
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    Centers that are as unstoppable as Yao are hard to come by. It would be devastating to lose him. :eek:
  15. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
    Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2000
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    Hey Roc Paint, please stop hating on Yao... :(
  16. Old Man Rock

    Old Man Rock Contributing Member

    Oct 23, 1999
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    He's just trying to say that Yao's values are rooted in integrity, honor and loyalty and even though JEFF VAN DUMMY is a coniving, backstabbing little tweet who thinks value is sucking every last drop of blood out of your players before you trade them, Yao will not change his loyalty towards the Rockets.

    That's all.
  17. RocketsPimp

    RocketsPimp Contributing Member

    Feb 15, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Great, so I guess we're going to end up maxing him out.


    Yao is hardly unstoppable.

    Does anyone know the difference between Kelvin Cato and Yao Ming?

    10 points per game. 5 baskets per game. It's taken Yao over 300 shot attempts to make up that difference.

    Cato is also blocking more shots per game and turning the ball over 2 times less.

    Sorry, but I am not convinced that Yao deserves a max deal at this point. I'm just not ready to bet it all on a 7'6" guy that has yet to show signs of being a consistent, dominant force in the NBA.
  18. ivanyy2000

    ivanyy2000 Contributing Member

    Oct 21, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I don't know either. But if you can list players who correctly get the max or near max and evaluate each one of them. I bet you will find out nearly half of them don't deserve their contacts.

    CD can take the gamble though, trade Yao to teams which will have cap space when Yao's rookie contract expires, see if they will give max to Yao by then. I bet they will. Business is business, we all know Rox understand that. So if they think Yao doesn't worth the max, they will get rid of him. Don't worry about that.
  19. Charvo

    Charvo Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Likes Received:
    The timing of this article is peculiar considering it came out the day after Yao sat out a game that the Rockets won played maybe their best team game.

    I'd like to see Yao read this article and come back aggressive and wanting to beat his opponent to a pulp. He gets to play against Okur and Collins of the Jazz tonight. Okur ran all over Yao last time.
  20. dragon167

    dragon167 Contributing Member

    Nov 15, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Please dont forget let the management knows your opinion. Actually if rockets dont match other teams offers to Yao in 2006, the management can sign then free agent Cato as a replacement. I think $7-8M will do. At least he blocks shots and turns the ball over less. It's a bargain.

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