Posted on: December 31, 2009 1:38 pm
Tracy McGrady is a man without a team. Unless you count the Western Conference All-Star team.
When the third returns in the 2010 All-Star balloting were released Thursday, McGrady had passed Steve Nash and moved into second place among Western Conference guards behind Kobe Bryant. Paper balloting will continue until Jan. 10, while wireless and online voting concludes Jan. 18. The All-Star starters will be announced Jan. 21.
Oh, the delicious irony of McGrady starting the All-Star game in the state of Texas while he's gotten himself banished from the Rockets for complaining about playing time. As the New York Times' Jonathan Abrams needled on Twitter, is McGrady going to wear a Rockets jersey, or one from Attack Athletics, the Chicago gym where he trains with Tim Grover?
Should T-Mac somehow hold off far more deserving candidates like Nash, Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, and Brandon Roy, the best part will be this: The All-Star Game could very well be his last in a Rockets jersey. The game will be played Feb. 14 -- four days before the NBA trade deadline.
If McGrady is voted into the All-Star starting lineup in a season during which he's played all of 46 minutes, should fans be banned from casting All-Star votes? Nah, let the fans have their fun ... the All-Star Game is meant for their entertainment. However, it's worth discussing whether All-Star appearances should be dropped as an official statistic for consideration for such honors as induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame. McGrady starting for the West and Allen Iverson for the East at a time when both are running on fumes would provide plenty of proof that such accolades are meaningless.
Posted on: December 27, 2009 10:25 pm
The Rockets and Tracy McGrady's agent, Bob Myers, will have discussions at the conclusion of the team's current road trip to decide the next step for the disgruntled former All-Star.
Posted on: December 16, 2009 12:44 pm
CHICAGO -- Tracy McGrady returned to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, and the fans cheered. T-Mac hit a 3-pointer, his only points during an eight-minute stint, and all was right in Rocket Land again. Right?
No, not so much.
McGrady's comeback is only part of a larger plan to increase his minutes and prove his worth to a team willing to take a chance on his once-breathtaking ability to score and benefit from his $23 million expiring contract at the same time. The Rockets were 14-10 this season without Yao Ming and McGrady, and now the only question is how long they'll have to keep up the charade until McGrady is in good enough condition to help another team.
"The plan is to increase his minutes because they’re gonna trade him," said a person familiar with the Rockets' plans. "I know they are. It doesn’t do them any good to have him playing eight minutes a game on that contract. They’ll find somebody, and there are plenty of teams that are interested, in spite of the contract."
In fact, there will be plenty of teams interested because of that contract. McGrady's $23 million salary comes with two built-in perks: It comes off the books on July 1, 2010, making it a vehicle for clearing cap space for the highly anticipated free-agent signing period, and it's 80 percent insurance-protected. The insurance provision already has kicked in, since McGrady missed 41 consecutive games during his recovery from microfracture knee surgery. The Rockets, or McGrady's new team, would receive 80 percent of his per-game salary for any games he misses the rest of this season.
Any number of teams desperate for short-term scoring punch while they prepare for a 2010 spending spree would be obvious fits; the Bulls and Knicks are at the top of my list. The Heat reportedly also are intrigued by McGrady, and team president Pat Riley is said to be closely monitoring T-Mac's progress.
On Wednesday, I brought all of this information to someone who is personally invested in McGrady's success -- Tim Grover, the renowned trainer at Attack Athletics on the West Side of Chicago. Grover famously trained Michael Jordan and has recently worked with such stars as Kobe Bryant, Gilbert Arenas, and McGrady. Grover wouldn't speculate on the Rockets' motives with regard to T-Mac, but said McGrady's debut Tuesday night was "long overdue."
"I wasn’t down in Houston, and I don’t know what the situation was or why they felt they needed to hold him out this long," Grover said. "Obviously, they had their reasons. They must have found something they wanted to be cautious with. The end result is we're happy to have him back on the floor."
Grover didn't merely help McGrady recover from microfracture surgery, which despite its name is a major procedure requiring months and months of rehab. He reinvented McGrady's body, which had no core strength when he got to Grover's gym.
"We took care of every single issue that he ever had -- the knee, the back, everything that’s ever bothered him in the past," Grover said. "We realigned his body and balanced everything out and made it much stronger and got a lot of his explosiveness back. Now getting back mentally 100 percent is the challenge. And the only way to do that is go out there and compete against NBA players."
At least McGrady is doing that now. Though in a perfect world, he won't be doing it in a Rockets jersey for much longer.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 11:04 am
The Rockets have been fielding plenty of inquiries about oft-injured former All-Star Tracy McGrady, whose $23.2 million expiring contract is attractive to teams looking to clear cap space for 2010.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle that teams have been "very aggressive" in their pursuit of McGrady, and unlike last summer, Morey is listening intently. One such scenario floated by the New York Post, has McGrady, Aaron Brooks, and Carl Landry going to Phoenix for Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa. That's a dubious one, considering the Suns' long-held reluctance to trade Barbosa. But with Phoenix in fire-sale mode, everything appears to be on the table.
One team known to have discussed McGrady is the Knicks, whose stated plan since Donnie Walsh took over as team president has been to get the financial books in order for 2010. "They have interest," a person with knowledge of the McGrady discussions said.
Stoudemire's situation is muddled by the fact that he has a termination option in his contract after next season. Any team acquiring him would want assurances that Stoudemire would sign an extension this summer in exchange for waiving the termination clause. To this point, according to a source, Stoudemire's representation has not been brought into any trade discussions involving the four-time All-Star.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 8:22 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2009 12:57 am
UPDATE: After hearing and reading media reports that Tracy McGrady will have season-ending microfracture surgery on his ailing left knee, the Houston Rockets aren't ready to pack it in. They might be looking to do something big.
"Not happening," a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com early Thursday.
The Rockets and Clippers discussed a trade that would've freed Davis from a disastrous return to his hometown and allowed the Rockets to remain in contention without McGrady. One possibility, first reported by SportingNews.com, had the Clippers willing to take back McGrady even though he won't play the rest of the season and faces a long recovery from the microfracture procedure.
That should tell you everything you need to know about how desperately Clippers owner Donald Sterling wants to retreat from the rare spending spree that resulted in Davis going to Clipperland in the first place. There figure to be other suitors for Davis, who has four years and $54 million left on his contract. Thus, possible landing spots would have to be limited to financially sound teams willing to take risks. (Mark Cuban, are you out there?)
The Sporting News' initial report on the Baron-to-Houston scenario quoted a person close to Davis saying, "It would be best for everyone if Baron moved on." That smells like an inside job, with Davis and his operatives trying to drum up an exit strategy to a solid playoff team. (Hey, it would beat the heck out of finishing the season with the 13-41 Clippers.) One team executive expressed serious doubts early Thursday that the Clippers would be successful in their Dump Baron campaign.
As for the Rockets, another source said they're telling teams they're working on "smaller deals." So while they're not taking McGrady's season-ending injury passively, they're not alarmed enough to make a $54 million bet.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 10:12 am
Edited on: February 18, 2009 5:22 pm
Every time I asked a general manager implicated in a Ponzi-like scam to acquire Tracy McGrady, the general manager reacted as though I were insane. I'd say, hey, it wasn't me who reported that.
Now we know why the GMs reacted with astonishment to T-Mac rumors. McGrady told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Tuesday night that he's done for the year and will need microfracture surgery on his ailing left knee.
Of course, it was prematurely reported last week that McGrady was out for the year, so it's best to wait for the official word from Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
UPDATE: Or, official word from T-Mac, who just made the announcement in his blog. "I’ve met with numerous doctors and gotten a number of opinions, and unfortunately, I will be undergoing microfracture surgery on my left knee immediately," McGrady wrote. "Microfracture surgery is a serious procedure, but I’m confident that I will be able to return next season with the same strength and explosiveness you are all used to seeing from me."
Earlier Tuesday, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander asserted that McGrady wouldn't be traded before Thursday's deadline, but reiterated what Morey was saying in Phoenix during All-Star weekend -- that results of second and third opinions on McGrady's knee would be back sometime this week.
UPDATE: But it was news to the Rockets, who are none too pleased that McGrady announced his plans to have surgery without consulting with the team.
"There should be a protocol, there should be a procedure where we have a chance to sit down and talk about the situation and not be announced in the press," Rockets coach Rick Adelman told reporters Wednesday. "I don't know why that happened, why he did that. Certainly, that is not the way things should be handled."
Posted on: January 28, 2009 3:41 pm
For a guy with a bum ankle, Ron Artest reversed field pretty nicely Wednesday. One day after saying he might have to sit out until the All-Star break to let his bone bruise heal, Artest said after shootaround that he intends to play against the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Yao Ming also expected back from a two-game absence with a bruised knee, it'll mark a reunion of sorts for Houston's Big Three; Yao, Tracy McGrady, and Artest have been healthy at the same time for only 22 games this season.
Artest's reversal only underscores how frustrating the Rockets' injury-plagued season has been. "It’s tough," point guard Rafer Alston said. "One day you've got this guy, the next day you don’t have this guy. So the offense changes, the game plan changes."
Artest told CBSSports.com Tuesday that his ankle was so sore that he considered sitting out the second half of the game against the Knicks Monday night -- his second game back after shutting it down for seven to give the ankle a chance to heal. He said one option doctors and trainers were considering was shutting him down again until after the Feb. 15 All-Star Game to make sure he's healthy for the stretch run.
But Artest changed his mind Wednesday. "I thought I was going to have to (sit out), because in the second half of that Knick game, my foot was really bothering me," Artest told the Houston Chronicle. "I thought I would have to give it more time to rest. I woke up (Wednesday) morning and felt great. That’s a sign that the ankle has gotten better. The pain didn’t go on past a couple days. That’s a great, great sign."
Yao said he felt like the Rockets were starting over Wednesday night, given that he, McGrady, and Artest have been in and out of the lineup so often lately.
"I feel like it is the first game for our season, that we finally get everybody here," Yao said.
Posted on: January 27, 2009 5:25 pm
No surprise here: More injury woes for the Houston Rockets.
A day after center Yao Ming's bruised right knee kept him from rejoining Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest for a rare appearance together against the Knicks, Artest told CBSSports.com Tuesday that his injured right ankle probably will knock him out of the lineup again. For how long, nobody knows. But Artest, speaking by cell phone from Houston, said one possibility that doctors, trainers, and coaches might consider is shutting him down until after the All-Star break to give his bone bruise a chance to heal for the playoff push.
"I think that’s something that probably the trainers and coaches will think about," Artest said. "They pretty much told me that when I get better, whenever I feel right, that I would pretty much get the OK. They know I want to play, so it’s not a thing where they're saying, 'Hurry back, get ready.' I thought I was ready to come back for the long haul. I guess we got one victory out of it."
Artest, bothered by the sore ankle all season, missed nine of 10 games -- including seven straight -- in an effort to get the ankle to calm down so he can finish the season. The move coincided with the Rockets shutting McGrady down for six games to get his conditioning back and rest his troublesome left knee. Both returned for back-to-back road games against Detroit and New York Sunday and Monday, but Artest said his ankle was so sore against the Knicks that he considered sitting out the second half. He shot 4-for-19, including 1-for-10 on three-pointers.
"I tested it for a couple of days and I thought I'd be Superman," Artest said. "But you never know with these things, especially when it’s a bone bruise. I never had a bone bruise. This is the first time I've gone through this, so it takes some time getting used to. I guess there will be a point in time where you just have to deal with the pain if you can minimize it for that stretch run and see how far it can take you then. We’re just trying to see how long this pain is going to actually last."
Artest will test the ankle at shootaround Wednesday, but described his chances of playing against Philadelphia at home as "pretty slim." Doctors have told him surgery won't be necessary, but he'll have to be re-evaluated on a daily basis to see how long he needs to rest. Given that his recent seven-game absence spanned two weeks, a similar timetable would push him against the All-Star break. Houston's last game before the break is Feb. 11 at home against Sacramento.
The Rockets have struggled with injuries all season, but nonetheless are 10 games over .500 (28-18) heading into a stretch of playing 10 of the next 12 games at home. They've had Yao, McGrady and Artest healthy for only 22 games this season, and also have dealt with injuries to Shane Battier and Rafer Alston -- who called out his teammates as "selfish" and "lazy" after Monday night's loss.
"We’re a coinfident team," Artest said. "Actually, everybody’s really upbeat. It’s not a thing where guys aren’t feeling confident. It's just a shame that I haven't had a chance to show Houston what I can be. Hopefully I can rest and get healthy and show the city of Houston what they've got."