Thursday , Jul , 19 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Steve Francis Provides Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, & Houston Rockets With Third Scorer

The Franchise is returning to the place where it all began-Houston … Today, Steve Francis inked a two-year deal with the Rockets; he should take some of the scoring load off of Yao & T-Mac … Click here for news and analysis on this breaking story …

ESPN The Magazine reports Steve Francis has signed  with  Houston:

Steve Francis is going home.

After three years of struggles in Orlando and New York, the former All-Star guard will return to the place of his greatest glory, the Houston Rockets.

Francis was in Houston on Thursday to sign a two-year contract worth roughly $6 million with the Rockets. The club will announce the signing at a news conference on Friday.

"We’re extremely pleased that he’s going back to Houston," his agent, Jeff Fried, told The Associated Press. "Houston has always been home for Steve since he entered the NBA."

The 30-year-old Francis was recently bought out of the remaining two years, $34 million of his previous contract by the Portland Trail Blazers. He received nearly $31 million in the deal. With money being no factor, Francis chose the Rockets over Miami, Dallas and the Clippers.

My Quick Take: This deal could really benefit Houston and Francis. The Rockets are getting an athletic scorer at a discounted salary, while Francis gets another chance in his second-home.

and need a wing-man, a so-called partner in crime. was supposed to fill this role last year, but it didn’t work out. Francis, if he accepts his third-banana status, could provide some much-needed scoring for the undermanned Rockets.

But Houston must change their approach. Last year, under Coach Jeff Van Gundy, they were a slow-down, half-court team. Points were scarce; offense was an afterthought. T-Mac and The Franchise are two of the game’s best open-court players, so the Rockets’ new coaching staff must push the ball more. Easy points are always a positive.

Finally, Francis has had a tough go of things. Just a few years ago he was one of the game’s best, traded in a package for Tracy McGrady. Now he’s receiving left-over crumbs from a buyout. However, the exciting guard is home, back with the team he never wanted to leave. I expect him to thrive and, if all goes well, sign a long-term extension with the Rockets. Maybe then, Francis’ famous skip will return to his game.

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