Despite reports by Yao's agent, Erick Zhang, that negotiations are going well with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), seeking a letter of clearance for the draft from FIBA, the New York Post is reporting Monday morning that a late snag with China could make Yao Ming ineligible for the draft.
Marc Berman of the Post, quoting "sources in China", says as a result of the Wang Zhizhi defection attempt, the CBA is now seeking a written document from the NBA that will guarantee Ming's participation in all Chinese National Team functions.
"The CBA is afraid," said Lou Hong Liang, an interpreter for the Shanghai Sharks, to the Post. "The only concern is whenever the national team meets, he can come back and no one can guarantee this. I think it's difficult. Will the NBA write a guarantee for that? If they will, that's OK. If the NBA writes the guarantee, everything will be OK but there seems to be no agreement. If he can't go, he'll play for the Sharks and the national team."
Lou Hong Liang also reportedly told the Post that Zhang exaggerated at Saturday's press conference in announcing a financial deal with the Sharks. Liang cited the fact that no Shark official was present at the conference.
I've got to tell you: It's blatantly obvious that the vast majority, if not all, of anti-Yao press comes out of New York, Chicago and recently Dallas papers. If I didn't know better, I would say this report is a scare tactic. China, above all, wants Yao to go #1 in the NBA Draft. That won't happen next season as most execs have stated they would select LeBron James over God.
Keep in mind also the Chronicle is reporting that talks are going well as did Fox sports Sunday night, saying a deal is expected by Tuesday morning Houston time.
"We have a basic agreement with Erick and with Yao Ming's family," said Yi Le (Shanghai Television network), who attended the negotiations and works for Sharks owner Bai Li. "The club agrees Yao Ming can go to the NBA. With the time very short, we have no time to prepare the documents to sign the agreement. We believe each other. This is the basic thing. We can go through to CBA. The Rockets need the release. That's critical. (It) must be approved now by the CBA."
We'll find out soon enough.