Yao-zers is right; Houston’s Rockets may soon be Yao-less for good.
The latest NBA news to hit the wire has Houston’s All-Star Chinese Center Yao Ming contemplating opting out of his contract and testing the free-agency market, possibly leaving the Rockets without a starting big man.
Personally, I have mixed emotions on this topic, especially with how successful the Rockets were this season without Yao in the lineup, and today we’re going to briefly break down the “should he stay or should he go” aspect of Ming possibly testing free-agent waters...
1. He Can Still Win A Title in Houston
With keys players returning from a surprising and up-start group, Yao has an opportunity to truly step in and be a leader both on and off the court for the Rockets.
In addition, there is still a damn good chance that Houston will be contenders next season with a healthy Yao retuning as the team’s go-to big man.
2. He’ll Become a Leader for the New-Look Rockets
As stated earlier, a Yao Ming return to Houston will automatically put the Rockets starting center in the spotlight alongside the likes of Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, and Trevor Ariza.
I’d also expect Yao to become both a vocal and veteran presence on the hardwood with Tracy McGrady no longer wearing a Houston jersey.
3. Yao Can Continue Residing in the Best City in the Lone Star State
Although China’s seven-foot All-Star may be receiving lucrative offers from other teams in the Lone Star State, he’d be foolish to believe that living in cities such as San Antonio or Dallas would make him happier.
If Yao is smart, which I believe he is, he’ll return to the Rockets and bring a title to Houston…
1. More Money, Longer Contract
If Yao is to leave Houston, it will likely be for one of two reasons (if not both): more money and a better contract.
Will Yao bolt the Rockets and head elsewhere? We’ll all know that answer soon enough.
2. A Quicker Chance at Snagging a NBA Title
Another viable reason for Yao to leave the Rockets would be an offer to quickly snag an NBA Title by playing with a different group of players. Or maybe a different coach.
At this point and time in his career, Yao needs to trust his gut on where to go and what to do. I, for one, am hoping he remains in Houston next season.
3. Prove He Remains One of the NBA’s Best Centers, Regardless of Who He Plays For
Leaving Houston and being successful playing for another squad would prove that Yao is one of the best centers to ever play in the NBA.
However, he could do that some and prove that same thing by bouncing back from an injury and reclaiming responsibility of the Rockets. With the 2010 season winding down, we’ll all know Yao’s decision sometime in the near future…
1. As Much As Houston May Hate It, Yao Could Stick Close By and Play in Dallas
Would Yao even want to play with the Mavericks, though; and would Mark Cuban and the Mavs even make an offer to Yao?
All these questions, and more, will be answered within the next few months.
2. Another Texas Option For Yao Would be San Antonio
As stated above though, the same rings true for the Spurs: will San Antonio even go after Yao if he tests free-agency waters?
3. Looking Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Yao Could Also Be Lured to Teams Such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, or Phoenix Suns
Obviously, Yao could also look at teams well beyond the ones I’ve mentioned and could even consider switching conferences.
Whatever he decides, Yao’s choice will make headline news and I’ll be happy to address my thoughts and feelings on where he’ll be playing when that time comes…
No matter where Yao decides to go or even if Yao makes the decision to opt out of his Houston contract, one thing is certain: China’s NBA giant wants to win a title, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to hoist that championship trophy.
And when Houston general manager Daryl Morey made the trade to attain Martin and company, he did so with the intention of building a team around Yao.
Will he remain a Rocket? Only time will tell, but Houston has a legit shot in the highly-competitive West if Yao remains in Rockets' red…
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org