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Yao Ming doesn't buy Sharks

BASKETBALL superstar Yao Ming has not been guaranteed ownership of his former club.

He may have to pay more than he expected or share ownership with other bidders.

But Yao's management team, Team Yao, has started to manage the Shanghai Sharks as an "entrusted investor" for five years, according to Xinmin Evening News today.

Team Yao signed a framework agreement on July 15 with the club's three state-owned investors to run the Shanghai Sharks, where the 2.27-meter center started his professional career.

Under the agreement, the companies agreed to transfer their stakes in the Sharks to Yao, but now those stakes will be sold on the open market.

One unnamed fitness center has told the club that it would bid, according to the newspaper.

The Sharks have assets with an estimated worth of about 20 million yuan and an open bid would increase the asking price, which Team Yao would not want, according to Li Qiuping, Yao's former coach and the coach of Shanghai Sharks.

Team Yao's Lu Hao, who has been appointed the manager of the Sharks, is reportedly struggling to get players to sign new contracts.

Yet Yao Ming said, no matter who owns the team, he will do everything to improve the team's performance. Team Yao said it will enlist some foreign help for the team.

Yao was the Sharks' center for nine years, leading the team to the top of the CBA in 2002, the side's only championship since it joined the league in 1996. Yao went to the United States to play for the Houston Rockets in the NBA.

Shanghai Sharks were on the brink of being dropped from the China Basketball Association last season as players' salaries were not paid when sponsor Xiyang Group quit after what it called "a hopeless season," with a record of 43 losses, six wins, and second to last of 18 teams.


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