Yao Ming wants back in. It’s up to Houston to decide if he’s still worth it. When Yao hurt his foot back in November there were questions about his long-term health. Would he ever be the same?
For the past five years, Yao has struggled to stay on the court. After missing just two games through his first three NBA seasons, the 7-6 center has missed 168 of them over the last five years. This past season, he played in just five games, his numbers dropping all the way to 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. All of these bone injuries have coincided with an increase in minutes.
Yao knows there are many unknowns at this point, not just with his foot and the Rockets, but with the collective bargaining agreement as well. But like he told Xinhua News Agency, he wants to stay in Houston.
Yao, back in China for a two-week trip promoting environmental protection, is recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot incurred on November 10 in a loss at Washington. He played only five games this season.
“Everything is going well and I am recovering. I will continue some simple rehabilitation training during my trip in China,” said Yao, whose contract with the Rockets will run to an end this season.
“My future will first depend on this foot and secondly, on the outcome of our negotiation. Too many things remain unknown right now,” he said.
But Yao, 30, admitted that he would love to stay in Houston as the city has given him some many memories after nine years.
“I started my NBA career there. I have played for the Rockets since then. And my daughter was born there. I have too many feelings for the city which will make a farewell so much harder,” he said.
Houston general manager Daryl Morey maintains that the team will attempt to bring Yao back, but there’s no telling the plans of some other franchises. Would a team like Golden State, with their potentially large Asian fan base, be willing to offer Yao a lot of money? There are rumblings they might be interested.
Yao does have career averages of 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and nearly two blocks a game. He is still just 30 years old. But no one is quite ready to commit to him yet.
The answers to those murky questions will come later this summer. For now, it’s about the once-great center getting healthy again. Hopefully, he can and hopefully stays that way.
Would you sign Yao Ming?
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