Rockets Thinking of Trading Yao Ming?

by December 28, 2010

According to the local press, nothing definitive is on the table, but what was once unfathomable is certainly now an option. The Houston Chronicle reports: “As Yao Ming ponders his medical options, and whether he wants to even try another comeback, the Rockets will have some choices to make, too. reported that the Rockets are ‘exploring’ trading Yao’s contract, in its final months, as incentive to a deal with a team that will be moved for the cost saving of such a large, expiring contract, with up to $8 million (depending on when there is a deal) covered by insurance. Yao need not pack his bags, yet, and not because he will never play again under his current contract, or because the Rockets remain open to signing him again whether he is dealt or not. The offer of the Yao cost savings is one way to get a team interested in a deal. It is not the only one. It’s not more likely than the others, not yet anyway. According to one person with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking, a deal is unlikely until much closer to the February trade deadline. When asked if trading Yao’s contract is more likely to make a deal than the other means to entice cost-cutting teams, the individual said, ‘I can’t even predict which is more likely.’ As mentioned in the previous blog entry, the Rockets can (and would) help a team cut costs by taking on a contract that fits into their $6.33 million trade exception or one that fits into the $5.8 million disabled player exception they expect to receive from the league. If they found a team desperate enough to clean house, they could even offer both exceptions to accept the contracts of two players that fit into those numbers. The player they want does not have to necessarily match those exception figures. They could come to agreement that fits the trade requirements to get that player and provide incentive with a simultaneous, but separate deal for the exception to prove the cost-savings other teams want. So far, no one has offered a deal that interests the Rockets, not for the salary-cap exceptions or the $17.7 million last season of Yao’s contract. To take back that much in matching contracts, the Rockets would have to get something they covet, especially since the contracts coming their way are unlikely to be in their final season.”