Monday, January 04, 2010

McGrady Saga

The Houston Rockets have decided that they no longer want to have anything to do with Tracy McGrady. T-Mac has worn out his welcome with his injuries and demands. He has officially become the new Isaiah Washington (dude that got released from Grey’s Anatomy). People use to love him and couln’t get enough of him. But now? His own team doesn’t want him and other teams are interested but not that interested. With that said, which teams might want to explore bringing in McGrady? Glad you asked, let’s have a look at all the NBA teams.

Atlanta: Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight picks up the phone
Billy Knight: Hello. Who is this?
Daryl Morey: Hey, it’s Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. I wanted to know….
Billy Knight interrupts: Whoa whoa whoa wait up a second. I have Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams that are playing well for me right now and they all need the ball.
Daryl Morey: Yes I am well are of that but…
Billy Knight: Settle down. Let me finish. As I was saying, they are all playing well and frankly, I’m not sure what McGrady can give me at this point. So there’s no way I’m parting with anybody in my core group for him.
Daryl Morey: Well, thanks for taking the time to listen to my….
Billy Knight: [click]

Boston: The Celtics as currently constructed can actually contend for an NBA title, so they have no real reason to part with anybody on their team to get McGrady. Danny Ainge tells Daryl Morey: “Thanks but not thanks”.

Charlotte: Larry Brown loves just about everybody in the NBA. But if he passed on Allen Iverson, what could possibly make me think they might have any interest in Tracy McGrady?

Chicago: The Bulls offer an interesting trade partner. McGrady has yet to play with a great point guard in his career and therefore the Bulls could be real attractive to him. However McGrady does not yet appeal to the Bulls all that much because they are unaware of what he can do for them. Can T-Mac still score at a relatively high rate? Can he still facilitate the offense? Does he want to facilitate the offense? Until those questions can be answered, I don’t think that the Bulls trade for McGrady.

Cleveland: Earlier in the season, I was a big believer that Tracy McGrady might be the type of guy that the Cavaliers might need to win the title. However, McGrady would only fit in Cleveland if he were completely healthy,  accepted a lesser role and also agreed to commit to defense. Mind you, I haven’t seen McGrady play defense since the 2005 playoff first round series against the Dallas Mavericks. At this point, too many ifs for Cleveland to seriously consider bringing in T-Mac.

Dallas: Dallas has been collecting a bunch of individual talents and they have found a way to get them to play together so far. But imagine this scenario: it’s the second round of the NBA playoffs and the Mavs and Lakers are tied 2-2 with game 5 in Los Angeles.  Kobe Bryant has spent the entire fourth quarter lighting up the Mavs and resting on defense. Tracy McGrady checks in and proceeds to take Kobe to school with an array of jump shots, drives to the basket and tons of awkward porn faces after every score. Don’t Lakers fans get nervous at this point? The one problem with that scenario is that no one truly knows how much McGrady has left. Consequently, it would be tough for the Mavericks to part with anyone important on their for T-Mac.

Denver: J.R. Smith (sorry dude, I’m not calling you Earl; only Earl I know is Earl Simmons aka DMX) is younger, more athletic at this point and costs about three times less what T-Mac costs. Questions?

Detroit: The Pistons are a confused organization right now. They got rid of some veterans to make way for some young guys but the team is still giving big money to some veteran players (Prince, Hamilton, Gordon). The Pistons will barely contend for a playoff spot, so why not just blow it up? I’m not sure what direction this team is going in; and consequently it would be tough for them to trade for McGrady. It’s pretty clear that they knew they were not going to be players in the 2010 free agent class, so getting the cap room this summer that comes with McGrady’s expiring contract does nothing for them. Hence, I think they stand pat.

Golden State: Let’s have a look the characteristics of the Warriors:
-Head coach is Don Nelson
-Team lacks discipline
-Team takes bad shots
-Team’s definition of defense is to play matador and say “Olé!”
-Head coach is still Don Nelson
-The only thing interesting about Golden State is Alcatraz

Yup, definitely sounds like a spot where T-Mac could land. If he starts pouting or acting spoiled, they can dump him at the prison. Why you think Stephen Jackson wanted out? They probably had him spend a night there!

Indiana: The Pacers are another potentially intriguing trade partner. Mike Dunleavy is a good glue guy that would actually fit with what the Rockets are trying to accomplish (team play). However his contract alone would not be enough to trade for T-Mac; so the Pacers could include T.J. Ford  in this trade scenario. This move would allow the Pacers to have some cap room going into this summer. They might not necessarily sign anyone of substance this summer, but they would still reduce their payroll. Let’s be honest, that team is currently spending $93.8 million (according to ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine) and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon; so might as well pull the trigger.

L.A. Clippers: The Clippers never do anything that make sense, so it’s tough to gauge what they could do or what their interest would be. However, if I were part of Clippers management, I’d explore the idea of trading Baron Davis. Davis has the habit of disappearing during the length of his contract and resurfacing in the last year of the contract to get another payday. Baron Davis is currently signed until the 2013 season. So if you’re the Clippers, can you really afford to have one player command $13 million per year (give or take) and be constantly injured and unmotivated? I’d roll the dice and trade away Baron Davis and Marcus Camby ($7.7 million this year) for McGrady. If he can play, great; but if not the Clippers get tons of cap room to go after two of these three players: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. And remember, the Clippers still have Blake Griffin.

L.A. Lakers: Sometimes, a guy might get involved with a woman who is already in a committed relationship without knowing. In those instances, it might happen that her man finds out and calls the other guy to talk. Trey Songz gives you the details of that convo in his cover of the song Obsessed.
“He call my phone like
Is you banging my girl?
My girl
Playa better check her
Don't wanna disrespect ya
I never even met cha
She never even mention your name
I don't know why you mad at me
You should ask your girl
She gave the ass to me
Stop harassing me

Why you so upset with me?
I don't even know you
It's clear that she had sex with me
Stop calling my phone you..”

An uncomfortable conversation indeed, but that’s the type of convo the Lakers and Rockets would have. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant, they don’t need T-Mac. Them fielding a call from Houston would almost be like cheating on Kobe.

Memphis: After going through Iversongate, I doubt that the Grizzlies would have any interest in acquiring an aging former superstar who is complaining about his playing time right now. But then again, if they think that McGrady would help boost ticket sales, you can bet your bottom dollar that Memphis will offer a few scrubs to take on T-Mac’s contract.

Miami: T-Mac in Miami makes some sense because McGrady came into the league as a small forward. The problem here though would be finding a suitable trade scenario that would benefit both teams. Obviously it helps Miami get under the cap next year with McGrady’s expiring contract, however the Heat need to contend now if they hope to keep Dwyane Wade in South Beach. If McGrady were to be bought out, a trip to Miami might make tons of sense, but via trade, I have a hard time seeing him landing in a Heat uniform.

Milwaukee: Bucks have nothing to offer in terms of talent. In addition, the only Milwaukee players that Houston might be interested in all have long contracts. Consequently, Milwaukee is probably not part of the McGrady sweepstakes.

Minnesota: The Timberwolves are in the midst of a youth movement. They want to let their young guys play and develop together. In addition, they are already scheduled to have some cap room this summer. So McGrady does nothing for them.

New Jersey: New Jersey works but doesn’t work because:
Exhibit A - McGrady would get a chance to play on a bad team and show how much game he has left. If it so happens that he can still play at a relatively high level, it helps him get a contract for next year.
Exhibit B - The Nets suck and McGrady must realize that his legacy as a first round flame out won’t get any better if he goes to New Jersey. So chances are he would block this trade and hope to get on with a contender.

New Orleans:
The Hornets don’t want to pay the tax this year, so acquiring McGrady wouldn’t help them at all considering that they are already in luxury tax territory. If the Hornets were willing to part with Stojakovic, Posey and Peterson, a deal could be somehow worked out; however the Rockets would be adding additional salaries for this year and next year; and those guys don’t help them get better in the short term or long term. Once again, thanks but no thanks.

New York: Larry Hughes and Al Harrington’s salaries combined equate to Tracy McGrady’s salary. Does this mean that the Knicks and Rockets pull the trigger on this trade? Not exactly. All three players have expiring contracts and Houston is trying to stay away from ball hungry players (yes Larry and Al, I’m talking to you guys). So from that standpoint Houston has no interest. But let’s be real, the contract that New York wants to get rid of is the Eddy Curry contract. He makes $10.5 million this year and has a player option for $11.2 million next year that he will probably exercise unless he suddenly becomes math challenged (you know, because he’s not worth the money). So the only way New York probably brings in T-Mac, is if they are able to get rid of the Curry contract. And so far, well no one has shown much interest in Curry. With that said, McGrady’s preferred destination might actually be the Knicks, considering he would get the chance to put up shots and ignore defense. But once again, the same issue that arose with New Jersey would arise in New York: T-Mac either misses the playoffs or loses in the first round. His legacy so far is that of “one and done”.

Oklahoma City: The Thunder might inquire about a possible deal but I highly doubt they would have any interest. Their nucleus right now is developing and getting better as a unit, all the while contending for a playoff spot. Bringing in McGrady would be like adding sprinkles to a cheesecake, the recipe just doesn’t make sense.

Orlando: Check out Wikipedia’s definition of a doppelganger: A doppelgänger is the ghostly double of a living person, a sinister form of bilocation. In the vernacular, the word "doppelgänger" has come to refer to any double or look-alike of a person. So hypothetically speaking, if the Magic had a doppelganger of McGrady, they wouldn’t need him right? Well turns out they have him in Vince Carter. They both are athletic shooting guards that love to shoot jumpers instead of attacking the basket, they both seem to view defense like the plague and they are both viewed as underachievers. I think Orlando says “Nah we good baby”. Quick note: One of the reasons McGrady left Toronto was because he no longer wanted to play in Vince Carter’s shadow.

Philadelphia: How’s that Allen Iverson thing going right now? Well he’s injured and the Sixers aren’t looking too good. So they might try to bring in McGrady, but there aren’t enough balls to go around for Brand, Iguodala, Iverson, McGrady and Lou Williams. So although it could happen, it’s very unlikely; and how would T-Mac fare against 76ers fans? They would eat him alive if he failed to play hard in Philly.

Phoenix: If Phoenix can get one of their spies to Houston to take a look at McGrady and deem that he can play, Phoenix could have a great thing brewing here. I would send Jason Richardson (2 years, $27 million) and Leandro Barbosa (3 years, $20 million) to Houston for the services of McGrady. The Suns would take on an extra $3 million in salary but if T-Mac can play, it’ll be worth it. In addition, with T-Mac’s contract expiring at season’s end, the Suns would be players on the free agent market.  Just think about it: Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill and Amar’e Stoudemire is a solid foursome.  The problem though is that the Suns would need McGrady to have a clean bill of health, and well I have a better shot at chilling with LeBron James and Michael Jordan. So this deal is not happening.

Portland: Daryl Morey calls the Trail Blazers to get some insight on their interest in McGrady.
Secretary: Thank you for calling the Portland Trail Blazers organization. Nancy speaking how may I help you?
Morey: Good day Nancy, it’s Daryl Morey from the Houston Rockets, is Mr. Pritchard around?
Secretary: I thought he was kidding when he said you’d be calling soon..
Morey: I beg your pardon?
Secretary: Uh NOTHING! Mr. Pritchard is not available currently.
Morey: No, tell him I have a killer trade proposal….
Secretary: Brandon Roy is the franchise Mr. Morey. We don’t need a former superstar guard that’s always injured, has an ego and lives in the past. Once again, we have Brandon Roy and our future is bright. Goo day Mr. Morey. [Click].

Sacramento: Three reasons why Sacramento can’t and won’t go after McGrady:
1. Tyreke Evans
2. Kevin Martin
3.McGrady would look awful in purple

San Antonio: The Spurs don’t do egos and only want players that know how to fall in line. Knowing this, there is practically no chance of McGrady going to San Antonio. They’d have no interest in a player that used to be a superstar that still thinks he is one. In addition, I can’t possibly see McGrady accepting to be the fourth option for the Spurs; consequently, the Spurs won’t show much interest.

Toronto: In order for Toronto to get McGrady, they would have to include a few players (unless they do a three team trade) into the trade, because of the salaries required to match T-Mac’s dollar figure this season. McGrady makes just about $23 million. Look at the Raptors top salaries:
1. Chris Bosh: $15.8 million
2. Hedo Turkoglu: $9.0 million
3. Jose Calderon: $8.2 million
4. Andrea Bargnani: $6.5 million (he will be making $12 million by 2015, and people say Colangelo is a great GM)
5. Reggie Evans: $5.0 million

This means the Raptors would have to trade at least two of the five players listed above. I’m not saying that the Raptors are challenging for an NBA title anytime soon, but I wouldn’t move any of those guys right now for an injured McGrady. Well actually, I’d part with Bargnani. The other aspect though is that if the Raps went after T-Mac, they would have some cap space this summer. As it stands right now, Toronto will not have any cap space and therefore keeping Bosh past this year would be extremely hard if they cannot lure in a big free agent. So Toronto should be exploring this possibility but they probably won’t because any trade involving Bargnani at this point is an admission that drafting and extending him was a mistake.

Utah: Jerry Sloan is an old school coach that does not play favorites or cater to egos. Does that sound like a place where McGrady might want to play? Mind you if  I’m the Houston Rockets, the idea of swapping Tracy McGrady for Andrei Kirilenko sure seems appealing right?

Washington: The Washington Wizards are sounding more and more like 50 Cent and the whole G-Unit.  For years they have been entertaining people with funny quotes, videos and antics that they have done amongst themselves or against their opponents (DeShawn Stevenson anybody?). But now they have upgraded and brought guns into the equation. The only thing missing at this point is for Agent Zero to start bragging about how many kilos of coke he sells every week. What does this mean in terms of the McGrady situation? Well the Wizards are a team with a losing record, they have a $81.6 million payroll this season and they now have a really bad image. At this point, they have to make some form of change for the sake of the organization, and that change might end up being in the form of Tray McGrady.

After seeing where McGrady might possibly fit, it is now just a matter of seeing who will be willing to invest anything to bring in the former superstar. Keep in mind though, fans still appreciate McGrady as evidenced by the amount of All-Star votes that he keeps accumulating. General managers and owners will certainly take that into consideration when pondering the idea of bringing it T-Mac.

Photo from: NBA