Where Will Yao Play Next Season?

Yao Ming.Yao Ming has garnered a lot of attention over his eight-year NBA career, as he has been named to the All-Star team eight times, although a large part of that has been due to his popularity in the Asian community (a fanbase that really blossomed when he came to the NBA in 2002). However, Yao has suffered a number of nagging injuries throughout his career and played only five games last season and the major question surrounding the big center now is, will Houston take a chance and offer him a contract for next season?

Houston’s odds in most online sportsbooks over the last few seasons have been predicated on Yao’s health, and when he is healthy, we know he’s one of the best centers in the league. But Yao has played more than 55 games in a season just four times in his career, including last year’s low of five, and we don’t know if the Rockets are willing to go through this again. There are still some outside factors that both sides have to consider, such as the negotiation of a new CBA which is threatening next season, but Yao has started that he wants to remain in Houston as he has been there his entire career. We’re sure someone would take a risk on Yao if the free agent isn’t offered a new deal.

The market for big men in the NBA is slim at best, with Orlando’s Dwight Howard, the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum and Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut as the only true centers in the league that are worth talking about (you may want to consider the Clippers’ Chris Kaman, Dallas’ Tyson Chandler and a couple others, but the list is short). Therefore, someone (reports state Golden State) will put in an offer on Yao. But if we had to lay a wager, we would bet on Yao Ming spending one more season in Houston.

Ford might be too far behind to catch up in China

Ford Focus China.

Despite Ford’s proclamation that it is rapidly expanding in China, the company seems to falter when it comes to actually getting the job done. The most recent JD Power Sales Rankings show Ford at number 14 in China, way behind, well, everyone else. In the first two months of 2011 the company sold just 51,170 cars, while brands like Volkswagen and Hyundai sold 276,137 and 129,430 models, respectively. That’s a big gap to overcome, and unfortunately we probably won’t be seeing much progress this year.

Chinese production of the Ford Focus doesn’t start until 2012. An initial flight of 150,000 units is meant to help Ford catch rival manufacturers, but will it be too late? All signs point to yes. If Ford is already at a quarter of the sales of other major players, it doesn’t look good for the company to play catch up.

As The Truth About Cars has it:

Ford is a late-comer in China. It started in 2003, building some 20,000 Fiestas from kits. In 2006, Mazda joined the fray for a threesome. Like most threesomes, it didn’t work out. After Ford and Mazda disengaged in Japan, Ford and Mazda parted ways in China and started their own joint ventures – both with Changan. The separation is not finished yet and won’t be finished until the Chongqing plant will be operational in 2012. All this does not help.

You can’t say it any better than that.

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