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Ming dynasty could be on its way

2584 Views 38 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  thaKEAF

For those who haven't read the newspaper article. If you have then this thread is open for discussion on ming as a player.
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Tall Blacks?! :uhoh:
From espn:

Rockets wont draft ming without guarantees.

While the Houston Rockets are optimistic they will get assurances from Chinese sports officials that Yao Ming will play for them next season without interruption, they won't draft him with the top pick without a signed letter putting their fears at ease.

The Rockets have no issues with Yao playing for China in the Olympics, the World Championships or the Asian Games -- tournaments that traditionally fall in the offseason -- but there is concern that he could be pulled from the team to play in tournaments during the regular season that don't carry as much global weight.

Multiple sources told that the Rockets are hoping to get a signed letter from three representatives in China -- from the government of sport, the Chinese Basketball Association and Yao's team, the Shanghai Sharks -- that assures Yao will be in uniform for the duration of the NBA's regular season and possibly the playoffs.

The Rockets would likely trade the top pick if a deal can't be struck with the Chinese. Houston isn't as interested in Duke point guard Jay Williams as the top pick because Steve Francis plays the same position.

The Rockets want to be able to announce that they will draft Yao with the top pick and that he has agreed to play with Houston and in the NBA in advance of the draft, something that is usually reserved for the top pick in the NFL, not the NBA.

It would be more beneficial to the Chinese government and the Shanghai Sharks if Yao is selected No. 1, considering they will get 50 percent of his salary based on the Chinese Basketball Association's agreement with Yao.

Yao's representatives -- John Huizinga, an economics professor from the University of Chicago, and Yao's cousin Erik Zhang -- visited Houston two weeks ago for an informational meeting with the team. Zhang traveled to China to seek out assurances that Yao would get released to play. The two reps are on board to get a deal done before the draft.

The 7-foot-5 Yao would be the first professional international player to be chosen No. 1, and the Chinese bureaucracy makes this a unique situation.

Houston helped its cause when the city's mayor, Lee Brown, coincidentally was in Shanghai, China, for a conference May 19 when the Rockets found out they won the lottery. The meeting was set up a year in advance. Shanghai Mayor Chen Liangyu told Brown that he would advise Yao's family that it probably would be good for him to go to the NBA.

Yao has a busy schedule over the next three months. He'll be playing in exhibition games in China this weekend. He'll play for China in a four-team tournament with Australia, Italy and Yugoslavia from June 30-July 4 in China, and again with the same teams July 5-9.

The NBA is still hoping Yao will be in New York for the draft June 26.

China will play in another tournament in Turkey from July 30-Aug. 10 before playing the United States in an exhibition game Aug. 22 in Oakland, Calif. The team will then play in Indianapolis the rest of the month until Sept. 8 at the World Championships. Yao is committed to play for China in the Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea, Sept. 29-Oct. 14.

That would mean Yao would miss at least the first two weeks of training camp and the first two exhibition games. The regular season is supposed to begin at the end of October or Nov. 1. The Rockets would be willing to get Yao after the Asian Games, but that means practices that would normally be in preparation for exhibition games would turn into more team-oriented drills so Yao could get used to the players and system.

In the coming years, the Rockets would like Yao in the United States at some points during the offseason so he could work with their strength and position coaches.
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Rockets planning China trip to woo likely No. 1 pick Yao

Posted: Tuesday June 04, 2002 12:15 PM

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets are assembling a delegation to travel to China to discuss selecting 7-foot-5 center Yao Ming with the first pick of the NBA draft.

"We are working on getting a contingent together and we are trying to finalize some details," Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said Tuesday. "We're still not set on exactly who is going. We're not sure everyone's schedule can work."

Houston television station KRIV reported Monday that general manager Carroll Dawson, coach Rudy Tomjanovich and team attorney Mike Goldberg could make the trip as early as this week.

The Rockets won the NBA lottery and will make the first pick in the draft to be held June 26. The Rockets, who need rebounding help, could make Yao the top pick if they can reach agreement with the Chinese government on his availability.

Houston Mayor Lee Brown, who was in China last week, said the mayor of Shanghai told him he would recommend to Yao's family that he continue his basketball career in the NBA.

Brown said he was also told that China wants assurances that Yao will be able to play for its national team during international competition.
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Whoa, there's a lot of good posts on this board. I don't think I'll be spending so much time at hoopsworld anymore. Here's my reply from over there on this topic:

Who is Alex Carcamo? I suppose he knows more about Yao's game than anyone of us here, but between high school ball, one year at Eastern Washington, and Chinese basketball (pretty low talent as far as international ball goes), I don't think he knows a whole lot about NBA basketball.

But to get the discussion going on Yao as a player...

There's no doubt he could quickly develop into a serious offensive force. If his dribbling, shooting, and hand-eye coordination are as good as advertised, it'll be tough to for many guys to stop him. That said, he's not unguardable. A tall, long-armed forward, like KG or Abdur-Rahim, or Jermaine O'Neal (and hopefully Tyson Chandler), could step out on him and harass him enough to make him shoot a poor percentage. Yao won't blow by any of those guys, and having a big guy body up and get in his face will rattle him.

The way to defeat the defense I describe is for Yao to blow by the guy off the dribble (already said it won't happen), or to take him into the post and score with his back to the basket. Yao isn't known to have a back to the basket game. Look at Dirk Nowitzki as an example. He can do both. If a big guy steps out, he'll dribble right by. If a smaller guy checks him, he'll post him up.

That's only half the game, though. Let's look at defense. Yao will block a lot of shots, just by virtue of being tall. He'll also alter a lot of shots, as Bill Walton would be quick to point out. So does Shawn Bradley. Back when he used to get PT, he was always among the league leaders in blocks. He's generally thought of as a terrible defender, however. That's because he can't guard stronger guys one on one. I see Yao having the same problems. Yao's lower body strength seems better than Bradley's, but it's not phenomenal. And he has a poorly developed upper body. He also has a reputed distaste for weightlifting, so I don't see any of that changing. A stronger, deliberate center shouldn't have any problem backing him under the bucket every time.

People may call me a pessimist for even bringing up Shawn Bradley, so let's try a different, and perhaps more accurate example: Rik Smits. Yao doesn't have anything Smits didn't have. Height? Smits was 7'4''. Dribbling, shooting, and hand-eye coordination? Got that too. Yet Smits never enters the discussion of great centers. He was barely a top 10 center in his era. Shaq, Mourning, Ewing, Robinson, Olajuwon, Mutumbo were all much, much better players. I don't think Smits ever made an all-star game. He was a liability on defense, and was always in foul trouble. You don't waste a #1 or #2 pick on someone who could someday turn into Rik Smits if you're as bad as the Bulls. It's a good gamble for the Rockets, but not for us.

Compounding all of these problems is the fact that Yao might never get to spend a full offseason working on his game with NBA coaches. With China calling him back for nat'l team duty all the time, he might never even realize his "Smitsian" potential.

All in all, not a good pick for us I think. I'd rather have Caron Butler or Mike Dunleavy, if it came to down us not getting Williams and not being able to make a good trade.
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To answer the question of how Yao fits into our team, I don't think Chandler and Curry can slide over to the 3 and 4 that easily.

Chandler is very athletic, but I don't think he has the necessary lateral mobility to defend the 3. He seems too lanky to step out to the 3 point line and guard a 3 with decent slashing ability. I don't know if anyone remembers the last Bulls-Celtics home game, but he got absolutely destroyed by Antoine Walker. He was playing about 2 steps off of him on the perimeter, because that was the only way he could keep Walker in front. With all that room, Walker had no problem putting up (and hitting) 3's. On offense, Chandler has neither the ball-handling nor the shooting skills to make an impact on offense. In addition, you take his great offensive rebounding away by playing him on the perimeter. He really is suited to playing the 4, especially after demonstrating this year that he's able to lift weights and add muscle.

Curry seems to have the requisite offensive skills to play the 4, but given the explosion of multi-dimensional PF's in the past few years (SI had an article on it), I think he'd have a tough time guarding people every night. Overall, I'd rather have Chandler at the 4.
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good posts sep. Nice ideas.

Welcome to the board. I saw you art hoopsworld. Glad you came over. Good fans in here.
third test. China falls to New Zealand

Third Test (Qinhuangdao): Burger King Tall Blacks 100 China 85

Just hours after inspecting the impressive man-made structure at its coastal starting point, the Burger King Tall Blacks gave their hosts a taste of what their ancestors must have experienced from the Mongol hordes back in the day, scoring their first ever victory over the Asian champions 100-85 at Qinhuangdao.
After dropping the two tests within two days of arriving in China, the Kiwis used a timely rest day to regroup and plot the downfall of a home team that had largely dictated the fate of the three-match series through their massive height advantage.
If they had suffered from the tough travel itinerary (and they never used that as an excuse) the Tall Blacks were back to their feisty best, offensively, defensively, mentally and physically.
Defensively, the Tall Blacks had been largely satisfied to play behind Chinese gargantuans Yao Ming and Mengke Bateer through games one and two with limited success in wrestling them under the basket. This time, coach Tab Baldwin demanded a more aggressive effort from big men Pero Cameron, Ed Book and Robert Hickey in fronting the giants to deny them the ball.
It largely worked. Yao still got 29 points to lead all scoring, 11 from the free throw line and only seven in the second half.
But Mengke totaled just five points for the match.
At the same time, the guardline was able to create havoc by trapping in the corners where the Chinese sharpshooters had been so successful in game two.
"Our guards controlled the tempo and our bigs did a pretty huge job on their bigs," summed up Baldwin later.
"It was a matter of getting our system down and making it work. We have two defensive systems and one is very high energy.
"I never envisaged playing it for a whole game, but we did tonight."
When this tour (the first competitive element of the Tall Blacks' world championship preparation) began, Baldwin told his players he would measure their effort in terms of three statistical categories. Turnovers, offensive rebounds and free throw percentage.
Last night, they got that mix spot on.
The Tall Blacks' pressure forced the Chinese into 26 turnovers, while committing only 10 themselves. Despite their height handicap, they cleaned the offensive glass by a margin of 19-8 through sheer commitment and shot 76% from the line as their opponents (74%) completely lost their poise there in the second half (55%).
"At halftime, I asked the guys if they wanted a pat on the back," said Baldwin. "But they didn't want any plaudits for a first-half performance.
"Those particular categories were the reason we had the lead. It wasn't that we were shooting the lights out, we just out-worked them."
Another telling indicator of the turnaround was the tip-off at the start of each quarter. In the first jump-off of the series, Hickey was barely able to tap Yao's elbow, let alone beat him to the ball. This time, Book controlled all four tips against both Mengke and Yao, but was whistled for a soft violation on the fourth as calls became hard to come by from the hometown refs.
The Kiwis had 10 of their offensive rebounds in the very first quarter to secure a 33-26 lead. The Chinese scored first and held an early 6-2 advantage, but lost the outright lead for good as the visitors scored eight straight points.
The home team began chipping away at that margin in the second quarter by using both their big guns at once, a tactic they had used surprisingly little throughout the series. But every time they scored, the Tall Blacks responded with interest. Cameron, Terrence Lewis and Paul Henare all hit three-pointers, while Book and Phill Jones had two each.
Jones had been muted during Saturday's second test and through the first quarter of this one, but erupted for 11 points in the second quarter period to carry his side to a 63-51 halftime lead.
The third quarter was an ugly deadlock, marred by Cameron's exit through injury. The calf muscle that had niggled throughout the tour finally screamed its final protest and the captain hobbled to the sideline for good with his side nine ahead.
To their credit, his team-mates never flinched, running the margin out to 20 points in the final quarter and driving many of the partisan 5000-strong crowd out of the stadium early.
"The boys are very excited and happy to head back to New Zealand, not as series winners but at least with some success and enjoyment from their visit to China," said Baldwin.
"It was a huge effort and I'm proud to be part of this team. They say you're only as good as your last game. In our last game, we were winners."

Burger King Tall Blacks 100 (Ed Book 20, Phill Jones 17, Terrence Lewis 14, Pero Cameron 12, Paul Henare 11)
China 85 (Yao Ming 29, Zhang Cheng 10)
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Real audio

Tim Brando interviews Carroll Dawson on Yao Ming. About 7:34 long.

I tell you i was hoping they would take ming. By the interview it certainly seems that way. He did mention ever so briefly that everyone asks about ming and he said there are other good players in the draft. But as each day goes by, it does look like Houston will take ming should all the kinks get worked out.
This just in from the associated press. Sorry no link. Got it from CC.

Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) _ The Houston Rockets have hit a stumbling block Wednesday in their hopes of making 7-foot-5 Chinese center Yao Ming the top pick in the June 26 NBA draft, according to a broadcast report Wednesday night.

The Rockets had announced plans to send coach Rudy Tomjanovich, team attorney Mike Goldberg and possibly general manager Carroll Dawson to China this weekend to get assurances that if the Rockets use the No. 1 pick on Yao, he would be allowed to play in the United States next season without interruption.

But a spokesman for the Shanghai Sharks told Houston television station KRIV that the Sharks, for whom Yao now plays in China, first want the Rockets' assurance that if they draft Yao they will keep him and not trade him.

The Rockets have said they can't say unequivocally that they will draft Yao unless they are assured of his availability for the entire season.

The Sharks have appointed Houston businessman John Dao as their spokesman. Dao told KRIV that Sharks general manager Ling Shaio Ming asked him to tell the Rockets not to come to China until after the draft.

``He's doing that because they are not sure where Yao Ming, which team he is going to end up with, so a lot of preliminary discussions they feel like would be fruitless,'' Dao said.

Dao said the Rockets can begin negotiations with the Sharks before June 26 ``if they make it known publicly they will draft Yao Ming and not trade him.''

``It's almost an impasse, but I think the impasse can be resolved,'' Dao said. ``Someone has to step up to the plate and say if I draft Yao Ming, Yao Ming is going to be on our team.''

In an interview with KRIV, with Dao acting as interpreter, the Sharks general manager said before the Rockets could acquire Yao, approval would have to come first from the Far East Recreation Club, which owns the Sharks.

Also, Ling said, the mayor of Shanghai must give his blessing. Then, he said, the Sharks would seek approval from the national government in Beijing, the China National Basketball Assocaition and the China Olympic Basketball Committee, in that order.

The Sharks are unwilling to reveal all the requirements that must be met to make the deal work, but Ling added:

``It's going to be tough to replace (Yao). However, we are anxious to work with the NBA and to work with the Rockets. We would like to have the Rockets help Yao Ming become a superstar in basketball.''

Previously, Erik Zhang of Chicago had said he was the point man for negotiations with the Chinese over Yao. Since then, the Rockets said, Zhang had been in China trying to lay the groundwork.

But Dao told KRIV that Zhang's efforts don't have the sanction of the Sharks.

``Any personal agent for Yao Ming has to be approved by the Shanghai Sharks organization, and up to now ... Erik Zhang is not approved,'' Yao said.

Rockets chief operating officer George Postolos haven't given up on a trip to China this weekend. The Rockets' next step, Postolos said, is to directly contact Sharks president Bai Li.

``There are differences in time zones, differences in languages. I guess it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that there may be some miscommunication,'' Postolos said.

Postolos reiterated that the Rockets must work out the issues concerning Yao's availability before they can declare unequivocally that they will draft him. But he said he is confident the two sides can get it done.
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This Could be a Problem

Mavs' Wang AWOL
Reportedly in LA, center missed deadline to return to China


By JODIE VALADE / The Dallas Morning News

Mavericks free agent Wang Zhizhi has not reported to China for mandatory national team training, and not contacted the Mavericks since the end of the season, leading NBA sources to speculate that Wang's rebellion against the Chinese government may end in defection to the United States.

But Wang's adviser said he is safe in Los Angeles, has no current plans to renounce his Chinese citizenship, and wants to participate in the NBA's summer league - all of which the Chinese Basketball Association has been informed of, he said.

The twisting and multisided tale has implications beyond Wang and the Mavericks. Wang is the first Chinese player in the NBA and therefore the pioneer for future negotiations with the country - which include the possible top pick in this year's draft, 7-5 center Yao Ming.

Not only is Wang's future in the NBA in jeopardy with his failure to comply to China's demands, NBA sources said, but Yao's future becomes murkier.

Both Wang and the Mavericks have received letters from the CBA demanding that the basketball player return to China per the agreement Wang signed when he first received permission to play for the Mavericks in 2001, but the Mavericks cannot locate Wang.

"We have called and gone to Wang Zhizhi's house every day, at least twice a day to try to locate him," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "We have been unable to do so for the past several weeks. We do not know where he is, or how to get ahold of him."

Wang has missed two CBA-imposed deadlines to return to China, NBA sources said. Simon Chan, Wang's new U.S.-based adviser, said his client is working out in Los Angeles and preparing for summer league play.

"He thought he could play in the summer league and improve, and this would help out the [Chinese] national team," Chan said. "He would be matched up against NBA-type players. For him to stay here, he has to take advantage of this summer and work on strength and conditioning."

Cuban said Wang discussed during the season the possibility of playing on the Mavericks' summer league team, but that discussion ended quickly when the Mavericks learned that Wang would be required to return to China immediately at the conclusion of the NBA season for national team training. "It never occurred to us that he wouldn't do what he was asked, or what the possible consequences might be," Cuban said.

Consequences could be felt as soon as the June 26 NBA draft. The Houston Rockets are eyeing Wang's countryman, Yao, with the first pick. China has made it difficult for Yao to leave his club team, the Shanghai Sharks, by imposing strict restrictions that include handing over 50 percent of his total earnings to Chinese government agencies. Difficulties with Wang could add to hesitation to release Yao from his Chinese obligations.

Wang has limitations, too, after two years of negotiations with the Chinese Red Army resulted in him becoming the first Chinese player in the NBA. Most prominent among those restrictions is that he has not been allowed to play on the Mavericks' summer league team, and that he had to report nearly a month late last season - both so he could fulfill Chinese national team requirements. Wang also is eligible to be called back at any time to play for his club team, the Bayi Rockets.

Cuban said the Mavericks still want to re-sign Wang and hope to work with him to resolve any obstacles. Wang recently cut ties with his agent, Bill Duffy, and has sought the help of Chan, a friend who is advising him until a new agent is secured.

Chan said Wang still intends to play for China in the World Championship games in Indianapolis from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

Things could go either way for Yao Ming right now. The Chinese could make it nearly impossible for anyone to draft Ming. Or they might begin to realize that their demands have been so unreasonable, that instead of promoting their players they're driving them away.

As much as I'd love to have Jay Williams, I'd also be in support of the NBA sending a clear message to the Chinese government that the demands they place on their own players makes it impossible for them to seek gainful employment with the NBA. Either they allow their national players the freedom to participate in the league without restrictions, just like other foreign countries, or they can keep their players to themselves without any expectation of being drafted or signed by an NBA team. The league will continue to flourish, with or without the cooperation of the Chinese government.
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Heres the latest on the Ming saga:

Rockets await invite for Yao discussions

Team hopes to sort out details in China

With no signs of trouble, but no official word, the Rockets waited by the phone Thursday for the call that could offer the next breakthrough in their hopes to draft Chinese center Yao Ming with the No. 1 pick in this month's NBA draft.

Rockets attorney Michael Goldberg sent letters to Shanghai Sharks officials and to the China Basketball Association requesting invitations to meet next week in Shanghai and Beijing. The Rockets did not expect answers until midday in Shanghai, overnight in Houston, at the earliest.

But Yao's cousin and representative Erick Zhang met with Sharks president Bai Li and reported no problems in negotiations to provide the letter of clearance necessary for Yao to play in the NBA.

"We're waiting for the invitation," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "We're looking forward to going over there. I think the time has come. It's the right time to meet face to face.

"The signs that we have received through contacts we have have been positive. We continue to be optimistic."

NBA vice president of International Basketball Operations Kim Bahuny, who has been in periodic contact with Zhang, said all indications are that Zhang remains Yao's choice to represent his interests and that he has been received well in Shanghai.

Reports Wednesday indicated the Sharks would insist on assigning Yao representation, as was done with Mavericks free-agent forward Wang Zhizhi. But NBA sources said Sharks general manager Ling Shaio Ming has developed a reputation for making outrageous demands, from insisting any NBA team that signed Yao would have to build an arena in Shanghai, to expecting a current NBA player be sent to China as compensation.

Bai has been cooperative in the past with other NBA negotiations and was instrumental in bringing an ATP tennis event to Shanghai.

But Wang's case could complicate delicate negotiations. Wang failed to report to China for mandatory training with his national team and has not contacted the Mavericks since the end of the season. The Mavericks has been unable to locate him, prompting speculation he could be considering defecting.

Bahuny said the Chinese government, China Basketball Association and the Sharks must approve his letter of clearance, but that it is unclear whether any group has assumed jurisdiction over the others.

"As far as we're concerned, Erick and John Huizinga are working to represent Yao in this matter," Bahuny said. "With the Rockets meeting with the Sharks and CBA, we believe everyone will come out on the same page."

NBA officials have said since the lottery that they believed it would not be as difficult for an NBA team to gain cooperation of the Chinese government and basketball officials as many have believed.

"It seems that the powers that be are interested in him coming to the NBA or we wouldn't have gotten this far," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "My sense is we've had agents that have been more difficult than this will ultimately be. I was thinking about Danny Ferry (represented by David Falk) playing in Italy for a season (rather than play for the Clippers.) I don't think this is going to be terribly difficult."

If it does get sticky, the Rockets will be on their own.

"We wouldn't (get involved)," Stern said. "Our view as I asked the general manager of the Shanghai Sharks, does he know how to spell Arvydas Sabonis? If that's what they want, a player who doesn't come to the NBA in his prime to learn the game and ultimately to perhaps even help his country attain a medal -- I would say a bronze or silver -- then that's their decision to make.

"But I think there are forces that are very much in favor of making sure many countries' players get the kind of training, coaching, nutrition and competition that the NBA offers. It's the best in the world and we stand ready to be helpful, generally, but not to aid one team over another one."

Sabonis was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986 but didn't receive clearance from his native Russia to join the NBA until 1995.

NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said the league's involvement has been to work out the logistics of Yao's workout in Chicago and to try to bring him to the draft. But he said the league would help the Rockets explain the limits of the collective bargaining agreement, particularly if demands cannot be met because of NBA rules.

But the Rockets believe such issues will be handled if the groups meet next week.

"We're just waiting patiently," Rockets chief operating officer George Postolos said. "Generally, the last conversation we had with Erick was positive.

"We continue to be optimistic. We think the Sharks have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. We have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. We think by meeting face to face ... those concerns can be addressed, and we will move forward together. That's what we believe will happen if we can arrange a meeting.

"One of their primary concerns is making sure Yao Ming is available for the Chinese national team when it competes internationally. Their interests and our interests need to be addressed. They need him there so he can be an effective part of the Chinese national competition. We need him here frequently enough to be the best player he can be. There is a common interest there."
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This is from Saturday Sports section from the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets officials get OK to visit China
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
The Rockets had long since eliminated on-court concerns about drafting Yao Ming and clearly said again Friday that they want to make him the first pick of the draft. Their other questions, they believed could be as neatly dismissed if they got together with officials in Shanghai.

Their answer to the first of many questions came at 1:30 a.m. Friday. They received their requested invitation to travel to Shanghai today to begin discussions Monday with Shanghai Sharks president Bai Li and general manager Li Yaomin.

"This is what we anticipated, but we're very pleased with the development," Rockets chief operating officer George Postolos said. "We need to go forward one step at a time. We obviously have added reason for optimism. It's a great day."

The Rockets hope to receive a similar invitation to meet with China Basketball Association officials in Beijing. But they considered the invitation to Shanghai a key to adding Yao to their roster.

"It's the first step," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "The thing I've been saying all along is we understand they have concerns. We have concerns. The time is right to meet. It was a gracious invitation. We were very happy to get it. We'll meet, and we'll see how it goes.

"There are a lot of concerns on both sides. You hear all of the stuff all of the time, so it's time to meet face to face and see what happens. The basketball issues we decided a long time ago. This is a great player. There's not any question about what he can do. Michael Goldberg, our lead counsel, is going to be in charge of the concerns that are on both sides. We're going to go over, sit down, and start the process. We feel very confident about this. It's been working real well from the start, and we're very excited about this because it's the first step in a process that we've been wanting to happen."

Dawson, Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, Goldberg and director of media relations Nelson Luis will represent the team.

There had been speculation the Sharks would require that the Rockets pledge not to trade Yao. The NBA collective bargaining agreement would not allow a no-trade provision in Yao's initial contract. But, the Rockets could assure the Sharks' representatives how much they want Yao, 21, to play for them.

Asked if answers to his "concerns" would assure Yao is taken first, Dawson said: "Yes, basketball-wise that's what I've said all along. We've seen this young man play since he was 17 years old. We've seen him a number of times. Rudy coached against him in the Olympics. We think he's tremendous. He's got a great upside. I could go on forever about his talent. He's a very blessed young man. We like him very much.

"This is not a basketball meeting as far as his talent. It's the other things that are going to be addressed, the concerns on both sides, and that's why we're very excited about getting the invitation."

Although Dawson, Tomjanovich, director of personnel Dennis Lindsey and Rockets scout Joe Ash have scouted Yao, only Ash has met him. There are no immediate plans to scout or meet Yao, but Dawson said that could be arranged after the group arrives in Shanghai.

"They are playing somewhere," Dawson said. "The basketball is not the issue. It's the concerns we were talking about. It would be nice to see him. That would be great. We hope we'd get to."

Negotiations could be complicated by the absence of Wang Zhizhi from Chinese national team workouts. But Dawson said the cases are unrelated.

"This is about Yao Ming and, as far as we know, it has nothing to do with that. It's not about him," Dawson said.

NBA commissioner David Stern also was optimistic about the Rockets' ability to reach agreements in Shanghai.

"I think much is being made about this entire Chinese situation that maybe it is not as big a deal as it seems," Stern said. "From a league perspective, either we will sign him or we won't. If we don't, it will be like (Russian player) Arvydas Sabonis. He will be here eventually."
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June 10, 2002, 10:17PM

Yao talks to start in earnest

Rockets delegation, Sharks GM go through social procedures

Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

The Rockets' delegation in Shanghai moved toward more substantive talks scheduled for late Monday and early today (Houston time) designed to clear the way for the team to choose Chinese center Yao Ming with the first pick of the NBA draft.

Prior to those talks, negotiations had not begun during the dinner meeting and museum trip with Shanghai Sharks general manager Li Yaomin. Those meetings, including a traditional exchange of gifts that included copies of the Sports Illustrated commemorative issues printed after the Rockets' 1994 NBA championship, were considered social procedures.

The delegation of Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson, general counsel Michael Goldberg, coach Rudy Tomjanovich and media relations director Nelson Luis was scheduled to meet again with Li and later this morning (Houston time) with Sharks owner Bai Li. The group was scheduled to travel to Beijing for meetings with officials of the China Basketball Association.
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Some of you may have already seen this. Some may have not seen it yet. Anyway it looks like a step in the right direction

Tuesday, June 11

Report: Rockets get Chinese OK to draft Yao Ming
Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) _ The Houston Rockets are one step closer to using the first pick in the NBA draft on Chinese center Yao Ming.

The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday in its online edition that the Shanghai Sharks have told the Rockets they will recommend that the China Basketball Association grant its approval for the 7-foot-5 star.

Rockets general counsel Michael Goldberg told the newspaper from Shanghai that Sharks general manager Li Yaomin and owner Bai Li pledged their recommendation following two days of social meetings and negotiations.

Rockets officials in China did not immediately return phone messages left by The Associated Press.

Houston, which won the No. 1 draft selection in the NBA's lottery last month, hopes to select Yao June 26 in New York.

``I believe based on our meetings that they don't have any objections,'' Goldberg told the paper. ``In the very short time we've been here, we've developed very good relationships.''
Goldberg, general manager Carroll Dawson, coach Rudy Tomjanovich and other team officials are in China to meet with Chinese representatives who will decide whether the 7-foot-5 center is allowed to play in the United States.

The group was to meet Wednesday in Beijing with representatives of the China Basketball Association, the newspaper reported.

Yao needs a letter of clearance from FIBA, the international basketball governing body. Approval from the China Basketball Association is considered the remaining hurdle for Yao to receive FIBA clearance.

Yao, 21, averaged 32.4 points and 19 rebounds in 34 China Basketball League games last season, shooting better than 72 percent from the field. He averaged 10.5 points per game on 63.9 percent shooting and six rebounds in the 2000 Olympics.

NBA commissioner David Stern told the newspaper roadblocks could develop and keep Yao from playing within the league until later in his career.

``We have people stationed permanently on the ground in China and we have good relationships with the authorities and the CBA and the Shanghai Sharks,'' Stern said. ``But if there's a decision made at the highest levels to not allow a player to come or to restrict him in any way, my reaction was 'OK, that's happened before.' ''
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For those who haven't read the newspaper article. If you have then this thread is open for discussion on ming as a player.
You actually took the time to look for this thread lol?
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