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BEIJING, Aug 31. (Xinhuanet by Sportswriter Wang Jingyu) -- The Houston Rockets have locked up
three-time all-star center Yao Ming to 2011, according to Team Yao leader Eric
"Yao Ming has signed a five-year extension contract
with the Rockets today," Zhang told Xinhua on Wednesday.
The contract extension is worth around 76 million US
dollars with Yao having an ability to opt out after the fourth year, according
Yao, who is gearing up with the Chinese
national team for the Asian Championship and World Championship qualifying
tournament slated for Qatar in the next month, will also be able to continue
playing for his country in the following summers.
"Now that the contract is done, Yao can concentrate
on the gamein the next season," Zhang said.
Entering the NBA as the 2002 top draft pick, Yao
averaged 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for the Rockets in the last
A strong faith in the franchise that also included
another superstar Tracy Mcgrady ironed Yao's determination to stay at Houston.
"Yao has a dream of winning the NBA finals at least
once, and he believed to stay at Houston he would have a better chance than
moving to another team after the next season," Zhang said. "He also believed the
Rockets can help him develop his full potential in the sport and make him a
really good basketball player."
"He is very happy in Houston," Zhang added. "He likes
the city,the team and his teammates."
The Rockets have been rebuilt around Yao and Mcgrady,
with whomthe team had signed a contract extension that could keep him through
the 2009-2010 season. They have also acquired power forward Stromile Swift and
Derek Anderson and re-signed Ryan Bowen and Barry this summer.