Posted on: July 8, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 10:19 pm
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has retired. Here's a roundtable discussion about what it means. Posted by EOB staff.
Matt Moore: Is Yao Ming a Hall of Famer?
I'm leaning towards no. He only had two 20-10 seasons where he played over 60 games. There's the Chinese cultural impact and the fact that he was the best center in the league from 2006-2009. But other than that, I'm having a hard time justifying his entry to the Hall.
Ben Golliver: Definitely not based on his NBA record. Didn't play enough games, win enough playoff series, take home enough individual hardware or influence the game's development. But he will get in like Arvydas Sabonis did on the international side for sure. And more than deservedly so. He was a pivotal factor in both the game's spreading influence into China and China's growing interest in the game.
Royce Young: I'm with Ben. There's no denying the impact he made and how important of a player he was to expanding the NBA's global brand, but in terms of what he did on the floor, I don't think so. His 2006-07 season was outstanding, but a lot of players have had really nice isolated seasons here and there.
No doubt he'd be one if injuries hadn't sidelined him, but that's part of it and the reality is, he just didn't play enough.
But in terms of an international Hall of Famer, absolutely. In terms of an NBA one, he simply didn't play enough. I don't think there's a special exception just because someone had a cultural impact (I mean, he's not exactly Jackie Robinson here). It's about what you did and didn't do on the court.
Matt Moore: Let's say he'd stayed healthy. What would his career ceiling have been?
Ben Golliver: Exactly halfway between Mark Eaton and Shaquille O'Neal.
Royce Young: He played in eight seasons and at his size, I don't really think he would've played more than one or two more anyway. He just would've had really nice numbers. He finished with what, 19-9 for his career? I bet he would've been like 22-10 and been, along with Shaq, one of the most dominant players in the league for a decade. Surefire Hall of Famer if he had stayed healthy.
Matt Moore: If Yao had stayed healthy, would we consider Dwight Howard's career differently? I can see making the argument for Yao being better than Dwight all the way until 2009, which slightly impacts Dwight's overall impressiveness.
Ben Golliver: I think Yao, unfortunately, will always be an overlooked oddity when we talk about the history of big men. Because of his outsider status and unprecedented size/skill set, Yao had Dirk Nowitzki's predicament of needing to win a title to justify (and explain) himself, only taken to a whole new level.
I just don't think he ever would inch his way into the American lineage without a ring or an MVP award (or two). It's just way too easy for history to trace from Abdul-Jabbar to Olajuwon (who gets a pass because he played for a high-profile college here in the States and went on to win rings) to Robinson to O'Neal to Howard. I'm not saying that's fair or how it should be, but I think that's his lot in life even if he had been healthier and 10%+ more productive.
Royce Young: There is an almost irrational thing about if a big man is truly good, he'll lead you to a title. But that's obviously not true. Patrick Ewing taught us that.
I really think if Yao had been fully healthy for 10 straight seasons, he'd have an MVP. Maybe not a title, but he'd have been one of the five scariest matchups night-to-night in the league.
Ben Golliver: Ewing is a great example because I just totally left him out of the lineage (because he didn't win a title when multiple people playing concurrently did?). He's the extraneous one in the Olajuwon/Robinson/Ewing trio, right? And he even had the biggest market team, plenty of deep playoff exposure and a high-profile American college to his advantage, which Yao didn't. Once a dominant center leads a team to a title post-Shaq, I think Yao is even more doomed.
If we're looking to spin a resolution somewhat positively, I think it's best to remember Yao as one of a kind than as one in a line.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 2:55 pm
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will retire from the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver.
The news that no one wanted to hear is here: Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has decided to call it a career in the NBA.
Yahoo! Sports reports: "Rockets' Yao Ming has decided to retire from the NBA. He informed the league office within past 48 hours."
The decision comes after years of dealing with nagging injuries.
Back in December, Yao suffered a stress fracture of his ankle that required season-ending surgery. It was assumed at the time that the injury could be career-threatening, as the injury occurred just five games into the 2010-2011 season after Yao had missed the entire 2009-2010 season following foot surgery.
In March, Yao told reporters in Houston that he would attempt a comeback, but was cautious in his outlook.
Yao, 30, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Due to his overwhelming popularity, he was voted to the NBA All-Star team in each of his eight seasons as a pro.
Listed at 7-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Yao was unmatched as a physical specimen, enjoying more success than any other player at his height or greater in NBA history. He is credited with being a key figure in spreading the global popularity of basketball, especially in his native China.
He leaves the game with career averages of 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 486 appearances.
For more on Yao's legacy, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has you covered.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:03 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:07 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The Wolves finally did it. They managed to get rid of Jonny Flynn. After months and months of discussion, the unhappy marriage that began in 2009 ends as Ricky Rubio finally dons a Wolves uniform and the other point guard selected is shipped off.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:
The Rockets-Wolves deal: JFlynn and No. 20 Montiejunas to Houston for Brad Miller, No. 23 Mirotic and future 1st, sources confirm.So. Just to review. The Wolves try and move the No.2 for a month. Can't do it. Take Derrick Williams when they have Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. Have another top twenty pick when they need talent. And then trade it for another Euro center that likely won't come over, Brad Miller who is nearing the end of his career despite having several years left on contract, and a future 1st. Maybe the 1st will be good.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have acquired a point guard no one wanted, who they are now reportedly trying to trade, when the have both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. And they surrendered a future first rounder just to get rid of Brad Miller who was a mistake to sign last summer, and Montiejunas.
The Rockets struggled defensively last season without Yao Ming and desperately need a center to bring toughness. So naturally they've traded for Motiejunas whose biggest questions were toughness and effort. It's not that Motiejunas lacks upside, he's got great range and scoring ability. But his questions defensively more than outweigh the good elements, which is why he plummeted out of the lottery and all the way to No.20. But the Rockets needed a center, and they got one.
Winner: We'll give it to the Rockets, only because they managed to take in less money and Motiejunas might surprise. It's neck and neck though.
Loser: Let's say it's the Wolves. Mirotic might be great and the future first is nice, but they have Milicic and Pekovic, and now Miller and his money. An odd trade all around.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:33 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The Houston Rockets may have a dilemma at their spot, but they have no intention of hanging around to bite their fingernails over it. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Rockets are shopping their two first-round picks, the No. 14 and No. 23, in order to move into the top ten. Specifically, Berger reports that talks have opened with the Detroit Pistons in a two-for-one swap that would allow the Rockets to get what they really want: a big man. Berger reports that late-riser Tristan Thompson is at the top of the list, along with Congolese phenom Bismack Biyombo.
The Pistons don't have an outstanding need beyond getting rid of their locker room-cancer vets, so this makes sense. It puts the Pistons in a position to gain more depth without getting stuck with a pick that's too good not to take, but only in a draft this low on star power. Still, that eight spot will have one of several good prospects available, especially with some of the reaches being discussed. However, it sounds like Detroit's not the only team Houston is chatting with in an attempt to move up.
The Racine Journal-Times reports that the Rockets are also talking to the Bucks about the No. 10 pick, and this one is more than just a pick-swap, there are players involved:
The teams have tossed around different trade scenarios with Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova being prominently mentioned.via BUCKS NOTES: Milwaukee, Houston discussing a deal.
Ilyasova is a promising all-around player still with upside at 24, and would give the Rockets a talented big man to pair with Luis Scola. Patterson seems like a high cost, though, as he showed a world of potential in his rookie season. Budinger is just the kind of player that GM Daryl Morey often raises the value of and then sells high on, while Hill is still somewhat of a project. Draft Express reports that the Rockets may have sweetened their deal by including Courtney Lee, which would likely get the Bucks' interest considering their desperate need for backcourt depth.
The Rockets' pursuit of a big man makes all the sense in the world, considering Yao Ming's highly questionable return to Houston and their glaring need for height. Thompson makes for an odd fit next to Luis Scola, but Thompson has been the one player who has made the hardest charge up the draft rankings in the past 24 hours, with some reports pegging him as high as No. 4. Biyombo on the other hand is a freak athlete with great work ethic and the <a href="http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?year=2011&sort2=DESC&draft=0&pos=0&source=All&sort=5" target="_blank">second-greatest wingspan of any prospect in the draft. Fellow workout prospect Chris Singleton described Biyombo as being able to scratch his knees standing up yesterday, which is just circus-clown freaky.
The Rockets need a homerun. In a draft without really any of those types of pitches, the Rockets seem dedicated to fighting their way into the batter's box anyway.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It's good to be a basketballer.
Sports Illustrated released its annual "Fortunate 50" list that compiles the top 50 earners in sports. And basketball players lead the way with 19 of the top 50. Baseball was second with 17, the NFL third with eight, NASCAR and golf tied for fourth with three.
LeBron James was the top basketball money-maker, coming in third overall with an estimated $44.5 million this past year. That included $30 million from endorsements alone. All that badwill created from The Decision didn't appear to hurt King James in the pocketbook. Maybe he can offer Dirk Nowitzki a couple milion to touch the trophy.
Kobe Bryant checked in sixth making $34.8 million total, Kevin Garnett was seventh making $32.8 milion total and Dwight Howard 10th making $28.6 million total. So if you count that up, four of the top 10 came from the NBA. Three came from the NFL, and two apiece from golf and baseball.
(One thing to note: The original 50 list doesn't include international athletes. Yao Ming made $35.6 million last year and would've ranked sixth, ahead of Kobe, but he's on a separate international list. Dirk and Pau Gasol both made around $21 million.)
The rest of the NBA list:
11. Dwyane Wade: $28.2 million
16. Amar'e Stoudemire: $24.5 million
21. Carmelo Anthony: $23.1 million
24. Tim Duncan: $22.3 million
27. Vince Carter: $20.5 million
29. Rashard Lewis: $20.3 million
31. Kevin Durant: $20.0 million
34. Michael Redd: $18.5 million
36. Gilbert Arenas: $17.9 million
37. Zach Randolph: $17.7 million
40. Kenyon Martin: $16.8 million
43. Joe Johnson: $16.5 million
45. Elton Brand: $16.5 million
49. Paul Pierce: $15.6 million
50. Chris Bosh: 15.5 million
Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:48 pm
Kobe Bryant tops LeBron James as the highest-paid NBA player. Posted by Ben Golliver.
After a dominant, awe-inspiring performance against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, it seems like nobody can beat Miami Heat forward LeBron James on the court.
When it comes to who is bringing home the big money off the court, however, King James isn't yet the King.
In a Forbes.com evaluation of the world's 50 highest-paid athletes, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant checks in ahead of James. Forbes says Bryant has earned $53 million in the last 12 months, $5 million more than James' $48 million.
Bryant and James are the only two NBA players ranked in the top 10. Golfer Tiger Woods holds the No. 1 spot at $75 million.
Bryant leads 15 basketball players that made the list, more than any other sport. Bryant added Turkish Airlines and Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Car to his endorsement portfolio this year. His $24.8 million salary with the Los Angeles Lakers is $4 million more than any other NBA player. No. 3 on the list is Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who earned $48 million over the past year.Forbes notes that its rankings "are derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income in the 12 months ending May 1" and do not account for "taxes or agents’ fees."
Just as James looks poised to win his first NBA title this month, he could overtake Bryant -- and possibly even Woods -- on this list in the future. A recent report noted that a Heat championship could mean a billion dollar windfall in China for Nike and could push James past Bryant in terms of popularity in that crucial market.
The next highest NBA player on Forbes' list is Houston Rockets cente Yao Ming, ranked No. 18, at $27.7 million. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is ranked No. 19 at $27.6 million. Dwyane Wade, James' Heat teammate, and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony are the other NBA players that appear in the top 25.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2011 4:01 pm
A decision on Houston Rockets center Yao Ming's future is still months away. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Back in March, after suffering a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming pledged to attempt a comeback rather than retire.
At just 30 years of age, Yao would have years of playing ahead of him if not for persistent injuries to his feet and ankles. While Yao hasn't played in a game since November 2010 and has played in just five NBA games since the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, the Houston Chronicle reports that Yao says it's still much too early to know whether he will be available next season.
Yao, 30, said he "might" know in August or September if he will ever play in the NBA again. He wants to. And he wants to play here. He just doesn't know if his body will enable him.In a separate report, the paper notes: "Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey have expressed their desire to re-sign Yao if he’s healthy."
For Yao, there's really no rush, especially if the Rockets are willing to take the patient approach. With that said, Yao's contract does expire this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent. If there's the possibility that his rehabilitation will take up a chunk of the 2011-2012 campaign, the Rockets could simply wait to sign him until there's more clarity on the issue.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 6:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There's really no denying that "The Decision" had a major impact. LeBron James knew what he was after. He wanted to become a bigger star, expand his brand become more marketable.
Well, looks like it worked.
SportsPro released their list of Top 50 Most Marketable Athletes and James ranked No. 2 only behind Usain Bolt. One other basketball player was in the top 10 (Carmelo Anthony, No. 6).
Also on the list: Yao Ming (11), Kobe Bryant (13), Dwyane Wade (15), Kevin Durant (30) and Deron Williams (48). Surprising omission? Where's Dwight Howard?
But the fact remains: Basketball players have always done in marketability. You can clearly see their face, see emotions and connect better with them. They're some of the most exposed athletes in the world and it's easy to get a sense of what they're like.