On McGrady – Part 4

2009 December 30
by rahat huq

It appears that Tracy McGrady has played his last game as a Houston Rocket.

The entire saga has been disappointing.

I’m disappointed by the outcome; disappointed in McGrady; disappointed by the sudden finality of that moment when a prior hope ceases to exist.

I said in my assessment that, overall, I didn’t think Tracy was helping this team.  He did however look much better in his next two outings.

I had hoped that McGrady would be given a further chance; a chance to supply his passing for legitimate durations; a chance to show that he could in fact fit in to this new scheme.

That will not happen.  Management has made its decision.

As has far too often been the case, McGrady opened his mouth and promptly inserted his foot [publically requesting more minutes after the win at Orlando.]

But this time, the fading talent wasn’t worth the talk, and Rick Adelman had had enough.

I’m skeptical of the decision, but I have full faith in Daryl Morey and Adelman.

Their way is not how I would have done it, but I trust their judgment.

Morey and Adelman might be the best management duo in our league.  In their stints with the team, each has been nearly infallible.

Their way is not how I would have done it, but their track record earns such trust.

Yet still, my underlying concern remains.  It is easy to become lost in the euphoria of this season of exceeded expectations.  But this team, as currently composed, is not a championship contender.  This team, as currently composed, will need an elite player to attain the heights it seeks.

While the vision had crumbled of McGrady once more becoming that player, I felt he could at least masquerade in the role, utilizing the vestiges that still remained of a once deadly arsenal, boosting the team through close fourth quarters.

But that will not happen – Tracy McGrady is gone.  The focus now turns to finding that player who he no longer is.

Going Forward

We don’t know what he can fetch, but McGrady’s only value is as financial relief (McGrady has an expiring contract meaning that a team can drop his $23 million salary from its payroll after the season.)  He could have worth if packaged with another Rocket, but its unclear as to whether the team is willing to dismantle its core.

For now, Morey will bide his time, listen, and entertain.  There is no urgency to strike a deal so it is doubtful that anything is imminent.

For now, all that is clear is that Tracy McGrady may have played his last game as a Houston Rocket.

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  • rahat_huq

    Not an actual rumor; just an opinion piece. But if they could bring back a haul like Iggy, I would get over this real fast...
  • Marc-ly
    First off, as a Sacramento transplant in Houston, I love Adelman's coaching acumen. He could not have screwed this up worse though. I think he regrets how he handled the CWebb situation in Sac and did a complete 180 the other way in his handling of TMac. First of all, the team was horribly wrong in their assessment of TMac's injury last year. What's worse, they publicly threw him under the bus by saying he could and should play through it. A blind man could see that he was injured, not hurt and couldn't move laterally last year. Yet Morey told any mic nearby essentially that TMac was being a baby and should suck it up because the TEAM doctors can't find anything wrong. Uhhhhh, then he had surgery. No one gets surgery for the fun of it. I think TMac, after that would be justified in looking out for himself. The team obviously had other agendas for whatever reason. Bottom line, he'll be better off somewhere else in 2010 when he is fully recovered and the Rockets will be worse next year when the "Anti-intangible" Yao returns for his customary 37 game season. Rocket fans will still feel sorry for poor Yao and still have hatred towards TMac. What else is new. Enjoy Aaron Brooks dribbling into traffic and loosing the ball or getting his shot blocked or Ariza or Battier attempting to dribble with their left hand as the shot clock winds down in critical moments. TMac is no Kobe, but not many are.
  • Anon
    By your sound of it, I'm sure that the Rockets prefer to flush the multi-millions dollars spent on T-Mac down the sink, rather than using it in any meaningful way.
  • Marc-ly
    Isn't that apparent? There seems to be some misconception that the Rockets are destined for greatness as constructed. They are currently the 7th seed if the playoffs were to start today. Is that so awesome that you turn away talent OR show potential to possible suitors. It's arrogant, stupid, and settling.
  • Alituro
    First off. Saying T-mac should have d-leagued it to prove his playing form, is a moot point because we all know he would have refused and demanded a trade, leaving us in the same predicament.

    Second. I truly don't believe that the rest of the Rockets have been saying all season "We need T-mac back to put us over the top". They are well aware of his tendencies and know that he would have a hard time fitting in to the flow of the offense. The whole scheme would have to change to cater to his playing style, which would be counterproductive to the hard work they've put in implementing this system and the outstanding chemistry they've built as a team. I think Rick took the right approach by giving him 8 non-pivotal minutes early in each game to see: 1) If or how he could conform to their playing style, 2) If implementing his pet moves into the current game plan would work out favorably and, 3) if 1 and 2 worked out, if he is indeed healthy enough to play extended minutes. 6 games with 8 minutes each couldn't possibly have enough data to make an informed decision to escalate his minutes, and I'm sure Rick has seen things in that little time to cause concern and make him hesitant to extend his minutes. I know I have. A little more patience on McgRady's part would have gone a long way.

    And Third. The ONLY reason T-mac wanted his minutes extended ASAP is so he could prove himself and boost his value for whoever picks him up next year. If Rick wasn't going to make a commitment to do so for him in a timely manner, then he would demand a trade to a team where he could be on the floor. If he had any sense of commitment to the Rockets team at all, he would have taken his medicine, worked hard to assimilate, kept his mouth shut and trusted Rick as his coach to put him on the path that best helps the team. He would be worrying about conditioning himself for the playoffs to a point where he could be a factor. But Instead he's worrying only about factors that ensure his own success in the form of a large contract next season. I am proud to have a team that is quick to shed selfish attitudes and ALWAYS puts team first regardless of the past caliber of any player. I am also proud to have management that I can trust in the trade will get us the most bang for the buck, they do every time. Morey is a genius and he won't let us down, either by picking up someone who fills a void we have on our current roster such as a defensive TALL center, or by investing in the future of the team.
  • drofdunk
    Far be it from me to guess what is going on in the Rockets' minds or how the hamster in TMac's head may be spinning the wheel backwards, but I think TMac had worn out his welcome in Houston. If there is one thing this team is not, it is not a team of individuals. There is no hint of selfishness whatsoever that I've seen this season from the team (with maybe the exception of a, thankfully misplaced, elbow swing by Ariza). My guess is that the team thinks the value added by TMac isn't worth the drama they were already getting from him. I loved TMac as a player and despite what many "astute fans" claimed, he did bust his tail for the team in trying to win. Towards the end of his tenure here, either by injury or by giving up on them, he had signaled his days here were done . All this being said, this team thrives on brains and heart . That can work during the regular season, but it would take a miracle for the team to advance anywhere in the playoffs constructed as-is. They win because the starters and the 2nd team hustle for a win and the drop-off between the 2 groups isn't all that great. Hopefully Morey has something else up his sleeves (or down his pocket protector), because it should be interesting to see how long fans will accept the Cinderella story of this team without advancing further in the playoffs. They're safe for this season... bring on Yao, and we'll see how long he can last and fit in with this group.
  • jimjiml
    the thing about tmac is he doesn't really bust his butt like the other players on the rockets....he was never really a hustle player like the rest of the team even though that's what he claims to be sometimes. yeah tmac is a great player but isn't built for a team like the rockets anymore....the rockets can't have a player that is injured every year with something. they work like a college team almost, where they are actually a team that plays together every night and moves the ball around to more than just one player. tmac is more like the one man show. this works for some teams but not the rockets. it sucks to see him go but i think is the best thing for the rockets and hopefully can get another player that hustles every night like the rest of the team.
  • bob schmidt
    It's hard to imagine that McGrady in his present physical condition can't contribute to the Rocket's offense at a level equal to a tired Ariza. When he wants to, Mac is a gifted assist type passer to others who can take it to the rim if he can't anymore.

    I don't understand the reluctance to give Ariza 30 minutes a game, and give that extra 10 minutes to Mac. If Mac had his designated 8 minutes plus 10 more of Ariza's minutes, we could have seen what impact it might have while waiting for Budinger's ankle to heal. This whole thing feels like Houston did not want him to be successful, and that doesn't make sense to me. But, I am not a basketball guru.
  • Anonym
    While there maybe intricacies and things we don't know. I can understand that it sometimes may not be in the team's best interest to add a superstar whose style doesn't fit.

    Just look at Iverson, see how many teams passed on this future Hall of Famer? Yes, 29 out of 30. And the lone team signed him probably did it 50% business (ticket sales) and 50% basketball (or less)...
  • thirdcoastborn
    @ Sam, get it right Tracy is being paid a max contract, but is not a max player anymore. Yea sending him to the d league sounds funny, but messing up the roster with bad contracts sounds funnier. Letting him getting into better shape, knock off the rust, and determine if his body can take extended minutes just helps his trade value. At only playing 6 games his only trade value is that his contract is about to expire.
  • Ell_dave
    Hmm.. Hadn't considered that option yet. Very intriguing. Kinda have to agree that this whole debacle seems to be over an "ego clash".
    At the most demoting him to the d league would allow Tracey to see where he stands and realize that he is no longer the hype of the league... But almost the laughing stock. I am a big time Rockets fan stuck in Sacramento (previously in Utah, even worse, damn Utah fans make me sick) and I've mentioned the idea of a Tmac for Kmart trade(with the addition of Anderson to clear up cap space) to a fan or two and they just kinda snicker. The idea is kinda funny. A proven talent, albeit unproven playoff potential, is laughed about when considered next to a two year injury prone guard. I don't believe Tracey understands this about his career. Put him in the d league and prove his minutes. Obviously not the same pace as the nba but a step above practice. And bring him back. Hell, you have plenty of time. Rockets are a playoff team in the mean time.
    The whole thing just seems like kind of a waste to me. Obviously the gm/coach situation for this team is second to none, but I feel a bit in the dark about this decision making process so far.
  • Paul
    I'm not exactly sure but I don't think you can involuntarily send a player with more than two years experience to the D-League.
  • Jacob
    I'm confused about the situation, too. Ariza is struggling. The team is middling offensively. Why not insert T-Mac at SG or 7th man and see if they can make a surprise playoff run? Even at 70%, he should be a productive player. The only way it makes sense is the Rockets know something we don't; namely, that McGrady has nothing left and he'd be seriously hurting the team regardless.

    Otherwise, it's like Lars said: they throw away an asset over an ego clash.
  • Anonymous
    Cause basketball is not maths, 1+1 doesn't necessarily equal to 2. The Rockets are doing just fine by 1+1+1+2+1+2+3+1+1+1...=30. However, if they add T-Mac, it will become 10+1+1+1+1+1+2+1+1+1=-10.

    The Rockets know what we know - T-Mac has never won a playoff series and it seems you're the only one ignorance of that fact.

    Don't get me wrong, I like T-Mac, and hoped he would succeed. But the only value T-Mac provides right now is his expiring contract.
  • thirdcoastborn
    I hoped they would send him to the d league for about a month,to prove his body could take alot of minutes. Then close to the trade deadline determine to put him back in the roster or trade him.I guess now when the game is on the line the ball will be in Landrys hands. We have a history of not being able to get the ball inside when the game is on the line. We still need a two guard who can take defenders off the dribble, post up, and hit the shot, to go farther in the playoffs.
  • Sam
    I'm sorry but you would not see a max player be sent to the D league for any reason. Your statement was beyond hilarious.
  • bmar207
    A max player, Tracey McGrady is a max player? Tracey McGrady had all the talent in the world. Perfect 2 0r 3 sized player, long wingspan. The guy can't win one playoff series. The Rockets without McGrady won a playoff series last year. The problem isn't with the rockets as a team, it's with maybe the most overrated player in NBA history. Now he says he's hungry, he wants it bad. Too late Tracey, your the new Jermaine O'neal.
  • Lars
    It doesn't really bother me he is gone, even though deep down I was hoping for him to succeed, for the same reasons you mentioned earlier. The problem I have is how the situation was handled, I don't think either side acted appropriately. What gets me the most is the organization throwing away an asset for no apparent reason. I will leave dissapointed unless Morey pulls something spectacular out of his hat with all this.
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