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Chron: Yao likely to sign in US

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Old School, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. Old School

    Old School Member

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    I knew something didn't sound right with that Fox report. :)

    Yao likely to sign when Chinese team visits U.S.


    By MICHAEL MURPHY
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

    The Rockets spent a lot of time and resources wading through all the uncertainty surrounding the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The man they targeted was Yao Ming, the 7-5 center from China, but there would be a lot of questions, a ton of negotiations and plenty of travel before the decision was made to select the multiskilled big man.

    So after all that wading through the political morass surrounding Yao, they now have no problem waiting to get their man.

    Yao remains unsigned, but for the Rockets, that's not unexpected. They have secured his rights by extending a contract offer that was delivered to China via FedEx, so the actual signing is expected to be a mere formality.

    When will that signing occur?

    "I seem to get asked that question a lot," said Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson with a laugh. "Everything's going fine. Everything is on track and is where we thought it would be. We've been talking with his agents (Erick Zhang and John Huizinga), and everything's in order.

    "We had until July 15 to get his contract over to him, and we had it done on July 2 or 3. He got it, his agent got a copy, and the league got a copy. We hope to get it taken care of when Yao gets over here."

    By that, Dawson means when Yao and his teammates on the Chinese national team arrive in the United States for the 2002 FIBA World Basketball Championship, which begins in Indianapolis on Aug. 29.

    The Chinese, who will also stage a mini-exhibition tour that will feature two games against the USA National Team in Oakland, Calif., are among 16 teams that will compete for the world championship.

    Until then, Dawson and the Rockets are content to wait for Yao's signature on a contract.

    "We have plenty of time," Dawson said. "Besides, it's not like Yao is the only unsigned player out there. From our perspective, there's really no hurry if he's not going to play on our summer-league team, so we can wait."

    Joining Yao among the unsigned players selected in the first round of last month's draft are Drew Gooden (No. 4, with Memphis), Chris Wilcox (No. 8, Los Angeles Clippers), Melvin Ely (No. 12, Clippers), Ryan Humphrey (No. 19, Orlando), Tayshaun Prince (No. 23, Detroit), Nenad Krstic (No. 24, New Jersey) and Chris Jefferies (No. 27, Toronto).

    While they wait for Yao to show up and sign, Dawson and the Rockets' coaching staff are dreaming of what it's going to be like to have him on hand.

    The Rockets have Steve Francis, fresh off his first appearance in the All-Star Game; Cuttino Mobley, who has blossomed into a legitimate NBA scorer; Eddie Griffin, who averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Southern California Pro Summer League; and Glen Rice and Maurice Taylor, who are returning from injuries.

    Add in Yao, who averaged 32.4 points while shooting 72 percent from the floor last season while leading to Shanghai Sharks to the Chinese Basketball Association championship, and Dawson starts getting excited.

    "I can tell you that his skills are very, very impressive," Dawson said of Yao. "His skill level is exceptional. I've never seen anybody his size with that skill level. The best (big man) I've ever seen with that kind of skill level is (Hakeem) Olajuwon, and this guy is six inches taller. He moves with quickness, moves his feet, and runs the floor like a 6-5 guy.

    "He's very athletic and has a tremendous touch. He passes the ball like (former Portland center Arvydas) Sabonis. He can shoot the ball, too. He shot 70 percent from the floor, and he doesn't dunk the basketball (because of cultural differences)."

    And that's not just Dawson's opinion.

    Tony Ronzone, an international scout for the Detroit Pistons, thinks Yao will be a perfect fit in Houston.

    "With what the Rockets have, guards like Cuttino and Steve Francis, those guys are going to love Yao," Ronzone said. "He can pass from the post and has great skills. He can play. He can run the floor. And another big thing is that this is a kid who was not forced to play basketball because of his size. He's a kid who wanted to play basketball.

    "I'll tell you what -- I'd hate to be in the West right now. With the Rockets adding Yao Ming to what they have, I think the Rockets are right back (in the playoff mix). This kid is a gym rat. He's the first one on the floor and the last one to leave. I love the kid, and people will love him. People don't really know about Yao, but they're about to find out."

    Which is what Dawson and the Rockets are waiting for.
     
  2. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    thanks, old school.

    hmm, another scout who has seen more than just video clips of yao, praises him. i'm pumped for this season.
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    Actually, the Chron just got scooped. Goldberg was quoted on Fox at the airport. Even ESPN ran his quotes.

    Looks like Murphy was talking to Dawson and got this. I bet he spoke to him because he knew he was leaving to talk with Francis' people tomorrow. My bet is that Dawson wasn't even aware of Goldberg getting the call.
     
  4. Old School

    Old School Member

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    I have a hard time believing Dawson doesn't know what Goldberg is up to. According to ESPN.COM as quoted here the Fox story ran on AP. Murphy has access to that and could have easily changed or called Dawson to comfirm his story was correct. What time did Goldberg leave for China? Was it still daytime? The Chron story wasn't posted until much later.

    Then again, does it matter when he signs as long as it's before he arrives in Houston?


    os
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    There is a very good chance Murphy's interview with Dawson was early and Berman's interview with Goldberg was late. It wouldn't be any shock.
     
  6. Old School

    Old School Member

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    According to Windandseas report the interview with Goldberg could not have been too late in the day if he arrived at 9pm Houston time. The flight is close to 20 hours in duration. By that logic the interview with Goldberg was actually done on Tuesday.

    At July 25th 10 am Beijing time (July 24th 9 pm Houston time), Mr. Goldberg arrived at the airport of Shanghai.
     
  7. Will

    Will Clutch Crew

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    Same scout, old quote, recycled months later without acknowledgment. Chinese journalists aren't the only ones who pass off old stuff as new.
     
  8. Rockets2K

    Rockets2K Clutch Crew

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    true, I've had Ronzone quoted in my sig since the week after the draft..if I remember correctly...the quote used above was in the same story I pulled my sig from...
     
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