Will Yao Ming be lured away to greener pastures, or will the Rockets' All-Star center remain in Houston?
That question has yet to be answered, but according to early speculation it appears as though the Rockets will at least have Yao on their roster to begin the 2010-11 season.
So how does Houston general manager Daryl Morey feel about Yao and the minutes he may be able to bring to the hardwood next season?
“I don’t know; I think for sure by playoff time we think he can be 100 percent back, which is the most important time, obviously," Morey told Rockets.com staff writer Jason Friedman following the end of the regular season. “He can be back to where he was last year when he was playing at a high level. What his exact ramp-up will be, I don’t think anybody knows exactly how that will happen.
“Yao is on schedule with the doctors. I think he’s at two-thirds of his body weight on the treadmill. Each week it ramps up a little bit and each week he’s responded great so we expect him to be back at the start of the preseason. If it’s not exactly that, we’re okay with it. Again, we’re focused on having him in the playoffs next year and clearly we’d like to have him for a large [percentage], if not all of the regular season as well.”
Backups for Yao at center next season (barring any unforeseen major changes) would include Chuck Hayes (who will also get some playing time as a forward) and David Anderson (a Rockets big man that can drain long-range shots).
I’d expect both Hayes and Anderson to get a good amount of playing time, especially when the season first begins with Yao’s status in limbo.