Tracy McGrady going to Knicks
The Tracy McGrady era is over in Houston.
The New York Knicks acquired McGrady and his massive expiring contract in a three-team swap with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Thursday. The person requested anonymity because the deal had not been officially announced.
Most important, the Rockets finally found a taker for McGrady, the troublesome seven-time All-Star they’ve been looking to trade for almost two months.
The Rockets acquired McGrady in June 2004, hoping that he and Yao Ming would return the franchise to prominence. He averaged 22.4 points and 5.7 assists in five seasons in Houston before this one, but he was always blamed—sometimes unfairly—for the team’s string of playoff busts.
In December, when it became clear he was no longer part of the team’s plans, McGrady’s representatives asked the Rockets to look for trade options and Houston agreed. McGrady offered no ill will in a statement posted on his personal Web site on Thursday.
“I have tremendous respect for (owner) Leslie Alexander and have enjoyed playing for the Rockets over the last six years,” McGrady wrote. “It has definitely been the most profound part of my career. I’ve learned a lot about myself from various situations, both good and bad that have occurred here. It was my hope when I came to Houston that I wouldn’t leave, but I do understand this is the business side of basketball.”
The Kings will get New York guard Larry Hughes and Houston forwards Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey. Hughes has a much-valued expiring contract and Landry is Houston’s second-leading scorer (16.1 points) and third-leading rebounder (5.5 per game).
The Knicks will also get guard Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings, though the lure of the deal was McGrady and his expiring $23 million contract. New York is eager to drop its payroll and become a major player in this summer’s free-agent sweepstakes.
Martin is the Kings’ second-leading scorer (19.8 points per game) after missing two months of the early part of the season with a broken left wrist. He will be reunited with Houston coach Rick Adelman, for whom he played two seasons in Sacramento from 2004-06, and he adds some much needed perimeter shooting to the Rockets’ lineup.
The 6-foot-10 Hill should slide into Landry’s role, bringing energy and rebounding off the bench. The downside for Houston is absorbing Jeffries’ contract, which will pay him about $6.9 million next season.
The most uncertain part of the deal is McGrady, who will turn 31 in May and has played in only 107 games over the last three seasons because of injuries.
McGrady’s health started becoming a persistent issue in 2005-06, when he missed 34 games with back injuries that lingered into the following season. He hurt his elbow and his knee early in the 2007-08 season and missed 16 games. He was in and out of the lineup during the 2008-09 campaign and finally opted for season-ending microfracture surgery on the knee around the All-Star break.
McGrady, a two-time scoring champion when he played for Orlando, couldn’t convince the Rockets this year that he could return to his old form after the surgery. He played a total of 46 minutes in only six games before becoming dissatisfied with his role.