June 29, 2009 News and Rumors Roundup Part #2

Yao could miss entire season with foot injury

The Knicks can entertain sign-and-trade discussions involving both Lee and RobinsonYao could miss entire season with foot injury

JONATHAN FEIGEN – Houston Chronicle

Rockets center Yao Ming’s left foot injury could be severe enough to be season ending or even career-threatening depending on the success of potential treatments chosen, Rockets team physician Tom Clanton said Monday.

"At this point, the injury has the potential for him missing this next season and could be career threatening," Clanton said. "One of the things we are trying to get is a consensus opinion on that, to make certain there is no option we are overlooking that would provide an earlier return or would be an option for treatment that he would prefer rather than doing additional surgery."

Clanton, responding to a story on Yahoo Sports that reported that the Rockets and Yao representatives are concerned Yao will never play again, said that Yao could choose to try again to immobilize the foot in the hopes that the hairline fracture of the tarsal navicular bone would heal on its own, as several of his previous bone injuries have and doctors expected this time.

"We are not going to comment," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said, "until we have all the facts."

Yao is scheduled to meet with several specialists to consider a wide variety of options. Clanton declined to say what option he expects to recommend.


The Knicks can entertain sign-and-trade discussions involving both Lee and Robinson

Alan Hahn

The Knicks can entertain sign-and-trade discussions involving both Lee and Robinson on July 9, after the seven-day moratorium. There is expected to be a strong market for Lee, who led the NBA with 62 double-doubles, and there are teams with cap space that have an interest. The Pistons could attempt to sign him to an offer sheet if they do not go after Carlos Boozer and the Trail Blazers are also said to be in hot pursuit, but more likely in a sign-and-trade scenario.

For the Knicks to keep him, Lee and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, would likely have to agree to a back-loaded deal to protect the cap space in 2010. Walsh would also have to first find a way to move either Eddy Curry ($11.2 million against the cap in 2010-11) or Jared Jeffries ($6.8 million) off the roster to offset Lee’s contract, which could command up to $8 million per year or more. Consider the range of these comparables: Troy Murphy ($11 million), Andris Biedrins ($9 million) and Udonis Haslem ($7.1 million).

Paul Millsap, a restricted free agent with the Jazz, is said to be waiting for Lee to set the market for himself.

Robinson won’t command nearly as much in salary, but his popularity as an electrifying 5-9 guard and two-time Slam Dunk champion could be valuable as an attraction in some small markets. According to one league source, the Lakers inquired about Robinson’s availability after his 33-point performance at the Staples Center on Dec. 16. Kobe Bryant has expressed adoration for Robinson and owner Jerry Buss was said to be smitten after that game. The Sacramento Kings also were close to a deal for Robinson and Jeffries before the trade deadline and there are indications that the deal could still take place this summer.

Robinson had a breakthrough season statistically – career-high 17.2 points per game – but his ball-dominating, one-on-one mentality does not fit well in Mike D’Antoni’s system. The Knicks drafted a rugged point guard, Toney Douglas, the 29th overall pick on Thursday and are also in the market for a starting point guard with the plan to move Chris Duhon to a backup role this season.

The same could be said about Lee’s future with the selection of Jordan Hill with the eighth overall pick. The 6-10 Hill is a solid rebounder who has a good mid-range game and, unlike Lee, is a bona fide shot blocker. But the best-case scenario would be to be able to play them together and have some depth in the frontcourt.


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