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Thursday , Dec , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Sam Dalembert, for now, is Houston’s center

Sources told ESPN.com that Dalembert has agreed to a two-year deal worth $13.7 million -- $7 million this season and $6.7 million in 2012-13. But the Rockets have a team option for the second season that would allow them to buy out of the contract for a fee of $1.5 million.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Samuel Dalembert isn’t Yao Ming or Pau Gasol, but he’ll do.

For now.

The Houston Rockets, who twice tried to acquire Gasol as part of the nixed Chris Paul trade, have inked Dalembert to a two-year, $13 million pact.

This is a decent move, as the Rockets have a massive hole in the middle with Ming retiring due to injuries.

Dalembert will plug that hole, defend the paint, block shots, and rebound. However, his offensive game is limited and there were concerns about attitude in Philadelphia and with the Canadian national team.

Of course, if Dalembert doesn't fit or there's a better option available, the Rockets buy him out next July for the paltry sum of $1.5 million and move on.

--Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

Tracy McGrady’s NBA Legacy – When was he ever underrated?
Tuesday , Sep , 06 , 2011 J.N.

Tracy McGrady’s NBA Legacy – When was he ever underrated?

I’m laughing at the notion. Actually, everyone should be laughing because when the hell was Tracy McGrady ever underrated? We’re not talking about Mark Aguirre underrated here. Aguirre never made all NBA First teams and never averaged 32.1 points per game for a season. McGrady retired two years ago and the T-Mac today is nothing but a rusty old aging robot for the Detroit Pistons. I’m trying to give the idea a thought – was McGrady underrated at any point in his career? 

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Is Yao Ming a Hall of Famer?
Wednesday , Jul , 20 , 2011 J.N.

Is Yao Ming a Hall of Famer?

The Great Wall of Houston officially retired from the NBA. Most of us were waiting for the past three years now. Yao was obviously trying his hardest to get back, but the mind finally gave in. He finally accepted it after all this time. Houston moved on a long time ago, but we will never forget what Yao brought to the NBA (besides injuries) such as his skills and the gates opening up for China. 

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Wednesday , Jul , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Yao says goodbye to NBA

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Today, Yao Ming announced his retirement at a press conference in China. Click the video and watch the 7-7 center say goodbye to the game he loves. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

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Tuesday , Jul , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lockout Be Damned: Stern and Fisher MUST attend Yao’s retirement

Yao Ming is likely to make it official on Wednesday, announcing what is expected to be his retirement from the NBA and a sport that made him a household name in China.The 7-foot-6 center for the Houston Rockets played eight seasons in the NBA, but has missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Yao Ming will officially retire from the NBA on Wednesday. Few from the NBA will attend.

SImply put, this is criminal; a travesty, in fact.

Yao opened the lucrative Chinese market for owners. He put billions in their pockets, but won't get so much as a pat on the back, handshake, or $2 'Thank You Card' from Commissioner David Stern.

Yao also won't receive his due from the players –even though those contracts Chinese clubs are currently floating don't exist without the 7-7 center playing his trade in Houston.

The reason is simple: the lockout.

Stern has instituted a code of silence that would put the Sicilian policy of Omerta to shame. Owners can't speak speak publicly. GMs can't comment on personnel matters.

Failure to comply with Godfather Stern will result in the NBA equivalent of sleeping with the fishes: a $1,000,000.00 fine.

Leslie Alexander, the owner of the Houston Rockets, and Daryl Morey, the club's GM, have no desire to meet the fate of Luca Brasi. So they've been mum on Yao cashing his 501k plan. 

However, Stern and his cronies at league head office should push aside their considerable egos; forget about their quest for a flex cap, non-guaranteed contracts, and reduced terms; and let Alexander and Morey catch a flight to China to show Yao love.

If the league can waive their lockout policy for the Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban to celebrate at the contrived ESPY Awards (ESPN is a league partner), they can do the same for Yao.

Of course, the Players' Union is not off the hook, either. Yao's international popularity increased league revenues, which, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, must be split with the players.

Derek Fisher can take a break from his role as Union Head and get to China. He's already playing a series of exhibition matches in the Philippines. A flight to China is no big deal; not for Yao.

The lockout is unfortunate. It shouldn't prevent NBA owners and players from honouring Yao's considerable contributions on-and-off court.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.


 
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Monday , Jul , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Yao: Hall of Fame Player or Hall of Fame Ambassador?

“No. 1 to me, he’s a Hall of Famer,” Van Gundy said. “Idon’t care if you put him in as player, as a contributor or put him in with his own heading. This guy definitely gets in for the greatness as a player when healthy or what he did as ambassador.” He then added a thought he would repeat often.“People forget,” Van Gundy said, “just how good he was.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He goes in as an ambassador –or not at all.

It's tempting to get caught-up and proclaim Yao Ming a Hall of Fame NBA player. After all, Yao is a nice fellow. His numbers were good. And for a very short time, he was the premier center in the NBA.

A pleasant demeanour, good statistics, and a short run as 'The Man in the Middle' doesn't mean Yao deserves basketball's greatest individual honour –at least as a player.

The crème de la crème of NBA players validate themselves by championships. Rings, more than individual statistics, are the measure of greatness.

This is fair. Unlike Major League Baseball, one NBA player can greatly influence a team. So team success is the best gauge of that player's impact.

Yao never won a championship. In fact, he never won a playoff round. Not one best-of- seven series.

Some Hall of Fame greats failed to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy. Charles Barkley at least made the NBA Finals. Karl Malone and John Stockton twice met Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls in the league's June extravaganza.

Barkley, Malone, and Stockton were the best at their position for a prolonged period. For instance, Barkley and Malone were Most Valuable Players; Stockton is still the league's all-time assists leader. Yao, injury or not, has no such achievement on his resume.

The Hall of Fame is exclusive. Coaches, players, fans and journalists shouldn't have to argue that a player deserves entry. The player's career should do that.

Yet, since word of his retirement broke, coaches, players, fans, and journalists have been arguing on behalf of Yao the player.

This is the greatest indicator that Yao is not a Hall of Fame player. 

He is, however, a Hall of Fame ambassador, functioning as the bridge between the NBA and the lucrative Chinese market. There's no disputing Yao's influence on the business of basketball.

For this, Yao the ambassador should have a place at the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts -just not in the players' section.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughs? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Friday , Jul , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming, the bridge between China and NBA, retires

Rockets' Yao Ming has decided to retire from the NBA, league sources tell Y! Sports. He informed the league office within past 48 hours.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mr. International is done.

Reports indicate that Yao Ming has retired from the NBA due to lingering foot problems. Sadly, the Chinese post barely got off injured-reserve the last few years.

In his prime, Yao could play. The first overall pick in the 2002 draft was a regular at the league’s mid-season classic, the All-Star game. While his Houston Rockets struggled in the playoffs, Yao always stuffed the stat-sheet with scoring averages of 20 points per game.

His legacy will always be China, though. Yao was the main reason the NBA penetrated and profited from the lucrative Chinese market.

Yao's greatest moment may have been an exhibition match between his Rockets and Yi's Milwaukee Bucks. Hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens watched this pre-season contest, confirming Commissioner David Stern's hunch that the league's future was in Asia. 

Other Chinese basketball players will follow Yao to the NBA. And the NBA will follow Yao back to China.

This bridge Yao created between China and the NBA will stand for years to come. His influence and legacy is only just starting.

Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jun , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Yao: ‘I don’t even know if I can play again’

The towering Houston Rockets center, China's most recognizable athlete, told CCTV he could not predict when, or indeed if, he would fully recover from a serious ankle fracture suffered last November."I don't know if I would join some champion team in the future," the China Daily quoted him as saying when asked about leaving a new-look Rockets team. "I don't even know if I can play again."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s sad if this is the end.

For years, Yao Ming was excellent. He was incredibly skilled and talented, often averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds, the benchmark for elite fives.

However, Yao never took the Rockets deep in the playoffs. His massive stature lead to numerous injuries.

Yao’s greatest contribution will be spreading basketball into the lucrative Chinese market. He was, after all, the league’s first Chinese star. And the world’s most populous nation followed his every move, which was good for David Stern and the suits at league head office.

Tens of millions of Chinese watched a regular season match-up between Yao’s Rockets and Yi’s Bucks. Perhaps half a billion people would watch one of these two in the NBA Finals.

Some of those billions will aspire to play in the NBA. A few may make it. And this will be, in part, because of Yao.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Mar , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rockets would have accepted Baron Davis, lottery pick for Yao Ming?

The Clippers could have traded Baron Davis and their number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft that was used to acquire Mo Williams and Jamario Moon in a similar deal for the expiring contract of Yao Ming, according to Bill Simmons.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Why was there such a market for Baron Davis?

Sure, he has some talent. When healthy and motivated, Davis has the skill set to still be a decent point guard.

Here’s the problem: he’s rarely healthy and/or motivated. He signed with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent, but seemed more interested in making films and filling out his physique than winning games.

Davis couldn’t even get motivated when paired with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, and the young exciting Clippers of 2011.

Now suppose Davis gets in reasonable shape. He won’t be the same player who orchestrated that magical run for the Golden State Warriors.

We Believe was back in 2006-07. That cram on Andrei Kirilenko was a lifetime ago.

Simply put, Davis is not the same player. And he never will be, either. But GMs clearly expect him to regain his form because he has another two years and $29 million remaining on his contract.

They are mistaken. The usualy wise Houston Rockets dodged a bullet. Expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to learn this the hard way.

Oly Sandor.


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Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade named 2011 All-Star starters

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Today, the NBA announced their starting line-up for the February 20th All-Star game in Los Angeles.

Of course, the fans vote in the starters. And the Western and Eastern Conference’s line-ups are filled with the usual suspects. Check out the list below and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

Western Conference:

G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

G Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

F Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

C Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Eastern Conference:

G Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

G Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

F LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

F Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

C Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

 --Oly Sandor

--Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

 

 

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Thursday , Nov , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Houston and Portland interested in Kevin Love?

One team that would be an ideal fit for Love, Houston, has explored the possibility to the point of presenting trade scenarios to the Wolves. Those overtures, sources say, have been met with an icy response. Another team to keep an eye on with regard to Love is the Trail Blazers.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For NBA stars, the Minnesota Timberwolves are Siberia.

Minnesota is cold. The Timberwolves have annual reservations at the league’s draft lottery in New Jersey. And the franchise has never recovered from wasting Kevin Garnett’s golden years.

Make no mistake about it, Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota. He knows their rebuilding efforts are failing. And he knows lottery-pick Ricky Rubio will stay in Europe until he gets a trade.

The Rockets would be an interesting fit. Love could platoon with center Yao Ming and international four-man Luis Scola.

The Blazers would also be interesting. Love is from Lake Oswego, an affluent Portland suburb. However, LaMarcus Aldridge is firmly entrenched at the four-spot. He could clash with Love –like former Timberwolf Al Jefferson.

Bottom line: look for Love to continue lobbying for a trade. Minnesota, also known as Siberia, is no place for an up-and-coming star.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Sep , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dampier considering Houston and Milwaukee?

Erick Dampier is considering Houston and Milwaukee, two sources close to the situation have told FanHouse.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s cheap insurance. Like Geico. Or All-State.

The Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks both have star centers on the mend, so signing veteran big man Erick Dampier makes sense.

Ideally, Dampier would serve as a bench piece. He'd grab rebounds. Block a few shots. And give Yao Ming and Andrew Bogut a nice break to avoid further injuries.
 
For that reason alone, Dampier's worth a one or two year contract.

But suppose Yao or Bogut gets hurt –something that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Dampier could step in, log major minutes, and provide a defensive presence down the middle.

Bottom line: Dampier would fit nicely in Houston or Milwaukee.  

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe in the comment box below.
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Wednesday , Aug , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming missing World Championship to heal for Houston Rockets?

No chance at all he (Yao Ming) puts on a uniform at the Worlds. He’s coming off the injury. He’s slowly getting back into his individual workouts. He won’t be cleared by then. (Robert Donewald, Chinese national team coach) 

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
China’s loss is the Houston Rockets’ gain.

Yao Ming will not suit up for China at the upcoming FIBA World Championship in Turkey because the 7-6 pivot is still recovering from a foot injury which forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

For China, the loss is obvious. They were manhandled on the low block in an 82-60 loss against an upstart and scrappy Canadian team at the Jack Donahue International Classic in Vancouver, BC.

Bigger, muscular posts will have their way with the slighter Chinese bigs in Turkey.

What`s bad for China is good for Houston. The Rockets re-signed their key free agents this off-season, and are looking forward to a full training camp with scorer Kevin Martin, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Sacramento Kings.

So Yao is skipping the intense two-week World Championship to try to return for the NBA season.

This is wise. Former Toronto Raptor Jorge Garbajosa compromised his NBA career by going against GM Bryan Colangelo’s wishes and playing for Spain at the European Championship before his ankle had fully healed.

Of course, the stakes are higher for Houston than Toronto. Garbajosa was a useful glue-guy; Yao is an elite center.

Come to think of it, the stakes are high for Yao, too. The perennial All-Star has said he’ll retire if his foot doesn’t heal.

Perhaps, China’s loss is Houston and Yao’s gain.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Tuesday , Jul , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming on his injured foot: `I might choose to call it quits`

Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming is considering quitting basketball after next season if he doesn't fully recover from his lingering foot injury.

In comments to Chinese state media Monday, Yao sounded far from optimistic about his future and also made a rare criticism of China`s national basketball program.

“If the foot injury does not heal next season, ``I might choose to call it quits,” he said.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Once upon a time, it looked like he wouldn't make it.

Years ago, Yao Ming was a polite, but awkward rookie trying to survive his first NBA season.  Everybody took shots -including TNT broadcasters Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith who believed he'd never score 20 points in a game.

The pundits were wrong. Yao quickly found his way. Today, on-and-off court, he's an international sensation.

When healthy, he’s a top center, a giant with touch and skill. Off-court, he helped the league succeed in the lucrative Chinese market. Thanks to Yao, the NBA is now a global brand.

Hopefully, he makes a comeback. His return would turn the Houston Rockets into a highly competitive squad in the Western Conference.

Whatever happens, his legacy, in America and at home, is complete. Yao has certainly made it.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Monday , Mar , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming Could Opt out this Summer

Yao Ming said Saturday he was “not sure” if the uncertainty with the NBA's labor negotiations would lead him to become a free agent this summer.

Yao said he has not considered his options, but was noncommittal about whether he might opt out of his contract.

“I'm sure I'm not sure until after we discuss (it),” Yao said. “We have not started (to) discuss it yet, so I'm not sure, either way. I have to talk to my agent first before we start to decide where I need to go. If you ask my agent, he will say, ‘I have to ask Yao and we will start discussing it.'”

Yao's agent, John Huizinga, had no comment.

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