After years of patience and a willingness to wait out injury upon injury with their franchise star, the Houston Rockets are engaged in trade discussions about center Yao Ming(notes) with several teams, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The lure of acquiring Yao for potential suitors is the $8 million in savings that insurance will provide for his $17.7 million expiring contract this season. Some teams are considering re-signing Yao on a short-term deal with hopes of restoring him to playing health, while others see his contract as a cost-saving measure.
Once one of the dominant players in the NBA, Yao, 30, will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left ankle. There are serious questions about his ability to return to the NBA on a full-time basis.
The Rockets are dangling Yao to acquire a good young player with an upside, if not an established talent. Despite offering Yao in trades, the Rockets haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing him to a short-term contract extension.
If Yao has surgery to repair the stress fracture, it would keep him out 10 months. After missing just two regular season games in his first three NBA seasons, Yao has missed at least 25 games in five of the past six seasons. He’s played just five games the past two seasons. From a broken leg to stress fractures in his feet, Yao’s lower extremities have struggled to support his 7-foot-6 frame.