Good news is coming fast from China, and quite frankly it needs to if they want Yao Ming to go #1 in this draft.
According to a Xinhua news agency report out of China, Yao and his agent, Erick Zhang, have reached an "agreement in principle" with the Shanghai Sharks and are expected to announce that this morning (Saturday evening Beijing time) at a press conference.
"We have reached agreements in principle with the club," said Zhang, who had made significant progress in the past day with the Sharks. Zhang said both Yao's group and the Sharks wanted to keep the details of the financial compensation "confidential".
So... a done deal? Not quite. According to Zhang, they still have to reach agreement with the CBA, and that may not come until Monday in China.
"CBA will give us a reply to our proposal by Monday (in Beijing) so I hope agreement can be reached with CBA quickly and I'm confident it can be reached before the draft," Zhang told the Houston Chronicle. "It is strictly financial with the Sharks. CBA has other concerns. Let's put it that way. Financial might be part of it with CBA as well. But CBA has other concerns."
So down to the wire we go. But make no mistake, this is good news as far as progress.
Especially when you consider the madhouse that Friday was, with the wealth of misinformation that was flying around. After the news report that Yao would not be attending the draft, many big publications, such as ESPN, reported it as Yao would not be in the draft, meaning not eligible to be drafted.
The Rockets held a 10:30am press conference Friday to squash those rumors fast.
"[CBA] Commissioner Xin has been talking to [the NBA] and wanted to make sure everyone knew what was going on," said Rockets attorney Michael Goldberg.
"He issued a release saying that because of conflicts with the Chinese National team - they have a game scheduled - that he wasn't going to be able to go to New York for the draft. The fact that he's not going to be there in New York does not affect his draft status at all. I fully expect him to be made available for the draft."
Interesting sidenote: According to Sina.com, the Chinese news publication, Yao suffered a hip injury recently that his him doing just light shooting with the Chinese national team.