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Report: Yao Ming not going to opt out of deal, stay with Rockets

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There was no real doubt that Yao Ming was going to stay with the Houston Rockets, the only question was it with this current deal or a new one.

The current one, apparently.

Associated Press is reporting that Yao will pick up the $17.7 million player option for this coming season with the Rockets.

That will make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

When healthy, Yao is the best center in the game. (Look up the head-to-head with Dwight Howard before you carry Superman’s flag in this battle.) However, he missed all of last season after reconstructive foot surgery. He is working out in Houston right now with plans to return next season.

If healthy -- and that is the caveat on all things Yao -- the Rockets are suddenly a real power in the West, with Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin in the backcourt and a good group of role players.