The folly in hastily trading Tracy McGrady out of spite is the fact that you would be completely relinquishing a value asset for zero return.
We aren’t completely privy to the amount of his trade value. However, given the recent history of expiring contracts, even taking into consideration the insurance benefits associated with his circumstances, it is safe to assume that Tracy wouldn’t bring back much to the Houston Rockets in a trade.
(To receive any type of substantial return for McGrady, other significant parts would need to be included. While I personally would have no qualms with breaking up the nucleus to facilitate the acquisition of an impact player, I think that management would be hesitant considering the established chemistry amongst this group.)
My concern is that, despite having little to no trade value, I think McGrady still has substantial player value, especially if on this team.
As I explained in Part 1, even in his declined physical state, Tracy will still possess the playmaking skills of which this team is in desperate need.
Almost every champion in NBA history has featured a player with the ability to make plays off the dribble. If they hope to contend, somewhere down the line, the Houston Rockets will need to acquire a player with this capability. The dilemma is that because this skillset is at such a premium in this league, such a deal would require the inclusion of key parts of our nucleus. (I also don’t foresee the Rockets being bad enough in the near future to acquire a gifted playmaker in the draft – they tend to go high in the lottery.)
This begs the question – wouldn’t it be easier to just keep McGrady?
If he proves to be washed up, he can simply be dealt at a later date prior to the deadline. But the team gains absolutely nothing from not even giving him a chance. If you expel McGrady now, you not only lose his player value, but you will also need to recoup the loss of his skillset through other valued resources.
So naturally, I’m pretty baffled by some of the calls for McGrady’s outright release. I think some fans have invested themselves into this issue at a personal level that is beginning to appear borderline unhealthy.
Management has taken the correct approach. No, Rick’s recent comments don’t mean he has some personal distate for McGrady. As a coach, it is natural that Adelman would be concerned about throwing a guy onto the floor without any practice. It’s not a simple black/white case of healthy/unhealthy.
Ultimately, I think McGrady will be given and needs to be given a chance to play before he is traded, if he is traded. Not because the team owes him anything but rather because it is the most pragmatic route for this team’s future.