What started out as a rumor Monday morning was confirmed by the Rockets’ team doctor by the afternoon, then immediately became the dominant story of the year for Houston: Yao Ming‘s broken left foot could not only take him out for all of next season, but also put his career in jeopardy. “At this point, the injury has the potential for him missing the next season and could be career threatening,” physician Tom Clanton told the Houston Chronicle. “One of the things we are trying to get is a consensus opinion on that, to make certain there is no option we are overlooking that would provide an earlier return or would be an option for treatment that he would prefer rather than doing additional surgery.” Just before that announcement was made, we were outlining ways the Rockets could find a good backup for Yao; now it looks like they’ll need a starter. Rasheed Wallace is a free agent (Orlando wants him too), and Mehmet Okur and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have opt-out clauses that could make them available. The Rockets could also get themselves into the David Lee sign-and-trade sweepstakes, see how the Hornets feel about Tyson Chandler, and maybe call up the Suns and see if they want T-Mac as part of a package for Amar’e Stoudemire … Since it’s all just guestimating at this point anyway, let’s go worst-case scenario: If Yao never plays another game, what is his legacy in the NBA? Is seven All-Star appearances in seven seasons, five All-NBA selections, 19.1 points, 9.3 boards, 1.9 blocks, stardom on the Olympic/international level, and a key role in increasing basketball’s popularity worldwide (and in the world’s most populous country) enough for a Hall of Fame nod? Would he be remembered as one of the dominant centers of his time, or just a fragile science experiment? … Tomorrow is the deadline for Carlos Boozer to opt out. Up until a few weeks ago it seemed like a lock that Booz was gonna make himself a free agent, but the list of teams with enough money to pay him more than he’s already making ($12.7M) is shrinking — it’s basically the Pistons and nobody else. If Booz opts out now, it’ll be less of a money thing and more because he just doesn’t want to play in Utah anymore … One of the teams who had a lot of money to possibly throw Boozer’s way was Oklahoma City, but they’ve instead set their sights on Paul Millsap. Not only is Millsap cheaper, some would say he’s actually better than Boozer … While the Bucks and Blazers didn’t extend qualifying offers to Charlie Villanueva and Channing Frye, respectively, making them unrestricted free agents, the Celtics made their offer to Big Baby Davis, meaning he’ll be a restricted free agent. Baby has said he wants to lose 30 pounds this summer, which would put him at 270, and claims he’s working on extending his range out to three-point land. Of course he could just be saying all this ’cause he’s a free agent and wants to look more attractive to teams, so we’ll see what Baby looks like by the time training camp rolls around … The Celtics are waiting to hear from Eddie House, who has a $2.9M player-option on his contract. If you’re one of House’s boys and you’re usually pumping his ego up, do you stick with it this time and tell him he’s good enough to command more money on the market, or be realistic for once and tell him to take the 2.9 and give thanks … If Shaq shows up at Cavs camp looking like he did at the height of the Fat Shaq era in L.A. (at least 340 pounds), blame Twitter. Is it us, or is the “THE_REAL_SHAQ” literally tweeting all day now? Yesterday he and Kevin Hart started up a round of the dozens with whoever would play along. Some of Shaq’s highlights: “yo mom so fat she stopped at the curb and her belly jay-walked,” and “yo mama so fat, even god couldn’t lift her spirit.” … And from Rudy Gay‘s Twitter: “So bored about to go perfect my craft.” What are the chances he’s talking about Playstation 3 and not basketball? … And finally, one of our favorite NBA tweeters, Marcus Williams: “I think the dopest thing about nba2K9 is they really got my tattoos.” It’ll be even doper if NBA 2K10 has Marcus on it, period. His name hasn’t popped up at all when you hear about available free agent point guards … We’re out like the Ming Dynasty …
Houston reeling from Yao’s bad news, and who wants Boozer?
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