Posted by Brian Windhorst
You must admit in a fun, detached, sort of way the ongoing sagas of Yao and Yi are pure comic relief. Unless you're a member of the Bucks' or Rockets' front offices or one of their fans, watching China's deft handling of their two prized basketball stars is wonderful entertainment. When Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor isn't giving unending and nebulous updates on Kevin Garnett and a member of the Buss family isn't talking or blogging about Kobe, this offseason drama is as good as it gets in the NBA.
To recap, two days ago Chen Haito, the manager of Yi's Chinese team, the Guangdong Hongyuan (also known as the Tigers) basically said he knew more about the Bucks than GM Larry Harris and decided Yi would not get enough playing time there this season so he must be traded. Guangdong vice chairmen Liu Hong Xinjiang then came out and said Haito was wrong. Does Chen know the Bucks were second to last in the NBA in rebounding last year? Now, though, Haito is backtracking according to the China Daily. Perhaps the tapes of Yi shooting 25 percent at Vegas Summer League have reached Guangdong. He now says: "As for the final decision, I have no answer." Can't wait until tomorrow when the Chinese issue statements on the signing of Jake Voskuhl and how it might affect the Bucks' frontcourt rotation. Hundreds of millions of Chinese want to know.
Meanwhile, Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel translated some Yi quotes about his agent, Dan Fegan. While Yi works for the Haitos and Xinjiangs of the world, he wants everyone to know Fegan works for him. See what I mean, this stuff is priceless!
Now on to Yao -- and Yi may want to pay attention -- who is being ripped by the Chinese for doing charity work for the Special Olympics. He shouldn't be doing charity work or planning his wedding because he's supposed to be getting ready for next year's Olympics by playing meaningless games for the national team. That's right and the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen breaks it all down, including an excerpt from a Chinese newspaper that reads: "No matter how lofty public welfare activities are, they can't be allowed to take first place in a player's life." That's true, what should come first are health and family, right?
At least the Rockets have been able to come to the rescue here. According to a new report, the Rockets have told the Chinese that Yao has a shoulder injury and can't play for the national team for awhile.