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Rockets lock up Yao Ming to 2011(09/01/05)

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     The Houston Rockets have locked up three-time all-star center Yao Ming to 2011, according to Team Yao leader Eric Zhang.

    "Yao Ming has signed a five-year extension contract with the Rockets today," Zhang told Xinhua on August 31.

    The contract extension is worth around 76 million US dollars with Yao having an ability to opt out after the fourth year, according to Zhang.

    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 three seasons.

    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.



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