NBA Roundtable

Tracy McGrady

In General NBA, Trade Talk on January 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

A lot of fuss over nothing …

The Chronicle

“I just try to play my role, my little cameos I make,” McGrady said. “Obviously they are looking out for my best interests, trying to monitor my minutes. At the same time, I feel it’s time to really increase them. I think that’s what’s going to happen in the next few games.

“I lace them up and at that seven-minute mark, I go in the game, I do what I got to do, and then, the second quarter I sit down and become a cheerleader. That was the plan. I agreed to that. It’s cool. After so many games, I’ve shown I’m able to increase the minutes.

“I feel right now, it’s time to really increase the minutes. I think that’s what’s going to happen over the next couple games. I do know my body. I feel fine. It’s time to start increasing. I was cool with the plan they had me on, but I think it’s time to start increasing.”

ESPN — the meeting that went awry

Tracy McGrady left the Houston Rockets and returned home Saturday after being told by coach Rick Adelman that despite McGrady’s wishes, his playing time would not increase.

But there clearly was an impasse between McGrady and Adelman about what the next step should be in McGrady’s comeback from microfracture knee surgery, and the Rockets said the situation would be readdressed Monday after the team returns home from a back-to-back set against New Jersey and Cleveland.

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out: Where do we go, and still keeping the rest of the guys moving forward?” Adelman said. “It’s kind of a balancing act in trying to figure it all out, and I do not have the magic answer. I wish I did.”

McGrady played short stints of 7 or 8 minutes in each of Houston’s previous six games, then asked that his workload be increased. Adelman refused, and the situation reached a new juncture after the team’s morning shootaround Tuesday.

“I’m a player, man,” McGrady told the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t make these decisions. I just abide by whatever they bring to me. That’s the plan. I’m not going to argue and fight with them — just run with it. I felt it was time [to increase the routine of playing seven to eight first-half minutes].

“I’m not going to cause any confusion or confrontations. As a player, that’s what I felt. They obviously feel different. That’s what I have to roll with.”

Where the situation goes from here is a mystery.

“It’s just an unknown,” Adelman said. “And I don’t have the answer for it. I just thought he was unhappy with that situation, and I was uncomfortable trying to go forward and jump-start it again.

“I don’t blame any player for saying I want more, and that’s basically what he wants, and right now I’m not sure how to do that.”

“You know, he was a great player,” Adelman said, “and you could go and run the offense through him and all the other guys benefited from it. But now if you’re going to do that, because of the injury and the rehabilitation coming back, he suddenly can’t do that and we can’t go to that. And now that that’s happened, it’s tough. So we’re trying to see if we can’t keep a flow where he can still get his touches yet we don’t have to put the whole onus on him right now, and that’s the dilemma. We need to play a certain way, and he needs to get a feel for what we’re doing. And we knew it was never going to be easy.”

Yahoo Sports

Just before Christmas, one front office executive told his video coordinator to cobble together the footage of Tracy McGrady’s comeback. The executive had watched most of those unmemorable 47 minutes, but wanted to make sure that he hadn’t missed something. The evidence was incomplete, but the conclusion unmistakable: T-Mac is no longer an impact player, just an expiring contract.

“That said, how am I supposed to tell anything off the minutes they were giving him?” the executive said.

The article continues

When McGrady, his agent Bob Myers and the Rockets management are done talking over the next 48 hours, two sources told Yahoo! Sports they believe the likely resolution will be McGrady leaving the Rockets and returning to Chicago to work with renowned trainer Tim Grover at Attack Athletics gymnasium.

For T-Mac and the Rockets, this is a deteriorating partnership that’s becoming increasingly combustible. His comeback has been a futile, pointless exercise this season.

ESPN — the resolution

Tracy McGrady has been cleared to take an indefinite leave from the Houston Rockets after the former All-Star’s representatives and Rockets management agreed to work together in search of a trade for the disgruntled guard.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that multiple phone discussions Monday between Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and coach Rick Adelman, in conjunction with McGrady’s lead agent, Arn Tellem, led to a mutual agreement that both sides would try to hatch a workable trade before the league’s annual trading deadline on Feb. 18.

“After multiple conversations with Tracy and his representatives, we have agreed to look into trade opportunities and have granted him an indefinite leave from team activities,” Morey said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Adelman adds

Adelman said before Tuesday’s game against New Orleans that McGrady never progressed to the point where he was ready to increase his minutes.

“He’s been hurt for over a year,” Adelman said. “The thing that people want to write about is who he was two years ago, and he isn’t that right now. We have a whole team here and it’s not just about what he wants or what he was going to want, or what was going to happen. It was about what can he do to help us win, and that was the bottom line to me.”

“He wanted to play, he wanted to push it,” Adelman said. “Unfortunately, you’ve got to deal with the whole group, not just one individual. He’s coming back from major surgery, he’s rehabilitating and who knows when he’s going to get there. Right now, he wasn’t there.

“I don’t think the explosiveness was there,” Adelman said. “He didn’t get to the basket like he used to, he didn’t have that first step where he could blow by people. It wasn’t unexpected to me, but we don’t know what timetable he has or if it’s going to come back.”

Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady is only in the early stages of his comeback attempt so I’m loathe to make any conclusions … but here’s what I’ve seen from him so far:

  • Tracy’s defense has been very poor. Particularly his man-to-man defense but also his team defense. He doesn’t have the lateral quickness to stay with any wing off the dribble.
  • McGrady has also struggled to create separation from the defender. This has resulted in a higher number of contested jump shots which has resulted in a lower field goal percentage.
  • Based on his recent performances, it looks like McGrady is stuck in that same performance bracket as a year ago when he left to Rockets to get another knee surgery.
    • That is a very poor defender + inefficient scorer (two large negatives) but good rebounder and very good passer. A ball dominant player who creates stagnant offense due to his declining ability to penetrate and force the defense to collapse.
    • In other words, McGrady is no longer capable of being a star player. He is also not capable of being a quality role player due to his awful defense + inefficient scoring + inability to accept a lesser role offensively. He is not a rotation worthy player at this point. A net negative.

Like I said, it’s only very early in McGrady’s comeback attempt so he may still improve given time … but the early returns are wholly disappointing.

Tracy McGrady shot himself in the foot by demanding by more playing time and then demanding a trade. He hasn’t shown enough ability on the court yet to entice a team into trading for him (for his talent, not his expiring contract).  He’s also put himself in a dubious situation where he may not get a good opportunity to play substantial minutes before the season ends which will hurt his earning power in free agency next summer. McGrady was best off keeping his yap shut and taking a slower approach in his comeback attempt.

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  1. Hey I wrote this on a bull’s blog and I think it might be of some interest to you:

    3.One of the most attractive reasons for acquiring McGrady is the salary cap flexibility that his massive contract provides after this season. The Bulls would be absolutely stupid to trade Luol + expiring contracts for McGrady unless they feel that Deng’s contract is burdensome (which IMO is not). The only upside to the deal would be that the Bulls would only have 20 million in salary next year (if they resind their rights on Tyrus Thomas) and would be one small deal away from being able to offer two max free agent deals.

    However I feel, even with Deng’s large contract, that he has considerable value especially given his strong year so far. If I wanted to maximize my space for next year, I would offer:

    Luol Deng + Kirk Hinrich + Tyrus Thomas

    for

    Tracy McGrady

    NOTE: In a deal like this, you are not looking at the talent recieved/given up, you are trying to position yourself to be able to attract 2 max free agents in the summer and retool into a championship contender on the fly.

    I think there is enough talent in there for the Rockets to eliminate their salary cap flexibility. Deng has become a proven producer on a reasonable contract and is still young, and Houston can audition Thomas for the rest of the year and see if they like him. Hinrich is the salary cap ballast of the deal, but could provide some value to the rockets as a backup point guard.

    This would be a fantastic move salary cap wise for the bulls. They would only have 17 million commited in salary in a year where there are superstar free agents in the market. Additionally, this is no Knicks situation where there is no talent, the Bulls can offer the max free agent a star point guard in Rose and an excellent big man in Noah. The Bulls would be in a prime position to become a contender overnight.

  2. Hey Dino Gunners,

    I like that line of thought. A lot of virtue to the idea of trading Deng to create enough cap room to try and sign two max contracts. Especially if they can keep Rose + Noah to entice free agents to sign.

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