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Wade will play somewhere

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade has decided he cannot take a year away from basketball.

And if the NBA goes that route, Wade has decided to go somewhere else.

Though he remains cautiously hopeful that a deal between owners and players can be struck to end the lockout and ultimately save the 2011-12 NBA season, Wade told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he will be playing somewhere this winter -- whether that's with the Miami Heat, as he'd obviously prefer, or an international club.

"I'm going to play basketball this year," Wade said from New York, where he's taking some business meetings. "I don't know where, but I love the game so much that I will play it. And we will figure that out."

Wade denied receiving any international offers yet, including a widely circulated report of a $2 million-per-month proposal from a Chinese team. He has said throughout the summer that he would review any offers that come his way, a stance he reiterated Tuesday, while noting that he was overwhelmed at times by the support he received from Chinese fans during a nine-day trip to their nation that ended last week.

On Monday, Wade's Heat teammate LeBron James told The AP he's "very optimistic" the season will take place, possibly even on time. Wade and James agree on plenty, but on that point, they differ a bit. Wade has started his offseason workout regimen, just in case, though hardly sounds convinced that the league will get its planned slate of 82 games in starting this fall.

"I understand why LeBron said it," Wade said. "At the end of the day, we are in negotiations. And you know how negotiations work. In the 11th hour, it can look like nothing's going to happen. In the 12th hour, we can have it happen. You have to prepare like we're going to have to be ready for training camp in the first week of October, just like you normally do. So I understand exactly what he meant. I'm not that positive that it might happen."

Wade is not sounding worried about what the coming weeks and months may bring. He's too busy right now to be caught up in speculation, anyway.

In the seven weeks or so following Miami's loss to Dallas in the NBA finals, Wade has been in almost constant motion.

He's been to Europe for fashion shows, China for business meetings with corporate partners Gatorade, Hublot and Nike's Jordan Brand, with friends at Chris Bosh's wedding and other trips. In New York, he posed for seven hours of photos Monday for various projects.

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Yao nominated for Hall

HOUSTON -- Retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming could enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as early as next year -- not as a player, but as a contributor to the game.

John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Hall, said Tuesday that Yao has been nominated by a member of the Chinese media and his credentials will be considered by an international panel. As a contributor, Yao would bypass the usual five-year waiting period for retired players.

The 7-foot-6 Yao retired in July after leg and foot injuries ended his eight-year NBA career. The eight-time All-Star averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in the NBA.

He'll also be remembered for his global impact on the league, almost single-handedly expanded its reach throughout Asia.

Former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, now a television analyst, said Yao deserves Hall of Fame consideration, not just for his statistics, but for his unprecedented impact on the game. Van Gundy coached Yao from 2003-07.

"He's been one of the greatest ambassadors to ever set foot on an NBA floor," Van Gundy said. "This guy touched so many people, and really opened doors in China."

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