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Originally posted by DickieHurtz
Tommorrow's Trib is saying:

Rockets to China: Houston is assembling a delegation to travel to China to discuss selecting 7-foot-5 Yao Ming with the first pick of the June 26 draft. Houston television station KRIV reported that general manager Carroll Dawson, coach Rudy Tomjanovich and team attorney Mike Goldberg could make the trip as early as this week.

I suspect that this contingent may come back with a deal that'll make everyone happy.
Here's a followup article to your post, Dickie:

June 4, 2002, 11:02PM

Rockets plan to send contingent to China
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
The Rockets' next step toward taking Yao Ming with the first draft pick could be their longest.

The Rockets hope to send a group of team officials to Shanghai, China, to meet with Chinese basketball officials, although there are no plans yet to work out Yao, and Rockets representatives may not even see him.

"Things have been progressing well. I think it's time we got together," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "We want them to know where we stand and let them know we understand Yao Ming's importance to the Chinese national team."

Dawson, Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, team attorney Michael Goldberg and director of team communications Nelson Luis are expected to represent the Rockets, a move Dawson admitted was "a pretty good indication" of what the Rockets hope to do with the first pick.

Dawson said Yao's representative and cousin, Erick Zhang, arranged the meeting after talks with Chinese officials went well enough to move to the next step.

The 7-5 center is touring with the Chinese national team and is not expected to be in Shanghai when the Rockets' representatives are there.

The Rockets have offered strong indications since the draft lottery that they consider Yao to be the top prize. Next week's meeting could be a key to securing the clearance to allow Yao to play through an NBA postseason.

Dawson said the progress on Yao "has been good."

"We're optimistic enough," Dawson said. "We think it's the right time to meet face-to-face.

"We've got to find out if there is any mystery. We think that the Chinese government is ready to do this. We're going to find out. If they give their blessings, the guarantee that the league is looking for, we'll see.

"Both sides want certain things. We want an uninterrupted season and playoffs. They want us to understand how important he is to the Chinese national team, and we do."
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