Wednesday Links: Revisiting The Kevin Martin-Tracy McGrady Trade

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 27: Forward Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat drives against Forward Kevin Martin #12 of the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Arena on March 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Just as we did here last Wednesday and will be doing every week for the rest of the off-season, today we're going to revisit one of Daryl Morey's past moves and re-evaluate it after the passage of time. Today's topic? The Tracy McGrady trade.

Going into the 2009-10 season, the Rockets' future was murky. Yao was lost for the season. Trevor Ariza had replaced Ron Artest. The one glimmer of hope that remained was that Tracy McGrady could either return to form or net the Rockets an All-Star when they traded his massive expiring contract.

After six uninspiring performances in first quarter cameos, the Rockets decided to shut McGrady down for two weeks to allow him to work on his conditioning, a sign that the writing was on the wall for McGrady's departure. McGrady would not play another game for the Rockets, and the team would work diligently to trade him over the coming weeks.

As the trade deadline approached, two serious suitors for McGrady's contract emerged, the New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings. The Knicks were eager to rid themselves of Jared Jeffries' contract and were willing to give up assets to do so, and the Kings wanted to clear a spot for Tyreke Evans, who had not meshed with Kevin Martin.

The early reports in the newspaper on February 19th were that the Rockets had agreed to send McGrady, Joey Dorsey, and Carl Landry to Sacramento for Kenny Thomas, Kevin Martin, and Sergio Rodriguez, but the deal was later amended to include the Knicks, allowing the Rockets to collect the Knicks' assets to take on Jeffries' contract as well as finding a go-to scorer.

The final haul was somewhat staggering at first glance: Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Hilton Armstrong (!), a future first round pick, and the right to swap picks with New York in the 2011 Draft. At the time, Hill was a rookie with a ton of potential and looked like a future starter in his time as a rookie with the Rockets. He'd be a disappointment in future years, but the team managed to get a first round pick for him from the Lakers.

If you're counting at home, the Rockets managed to acquire Kevin Martin and two first round picks (one of which would become Royce White), for the cost of taking on Jeffries' contract and Carl Landry. Martin struggled last year, but he gave the Rockets All-Star level production in 2010-11, finishing the season fourth among shooting guards in PER and seventh among all guards.

The original intent of the deal was to give the Rockets a suitable running mate and consistent perimeter shooter when Yao returned from injury. The quest to build a team around Yao was what motivated the Trevor Ariza signing, the big contracts given to Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry, and the Kevin Martin acquisition.

Ariza's disappointing first year motivated the Rockets to trade him for Courtney Lee, and when Yao got re-injured, the Rockets eventually rid themselves of the other contracts, trading Lowry for a lottery pick, and amnestying Scola. Now, Martin is the only one that remains of the core the Rockets envisioned alongside Yao.

Just like the case was with the other deals, just because Yao didn't return comeback healthy doesn't make it the wrong call. The Rockets were never going to have significant cap room in the summer of 2010, so the extra financial burden was nothing more than another check Les Alexander had to cut. Two and a half years later, the Rockets are in a better position because of the trade, with an extra first rounder in hand for trade talks and a talented young player in Royce White. When the team adds in the potential return they can get for Martin at the trade deadline, you have a win for Morey, just not as big of a win as many envisioned on that day in February of 2010.

Check back later today when I discuss the greatest trade in Rockets history.

Jump for your links!

Rockets Stuff

76ers Add Sam Hinkie To Candidate List In Search For New GM - Sam Amick - SI.com
Getting Hinkie to be the new GM in Philadelphia would be an absolute coup. It's surprising that his name doesn't come up more often in these discussions, and he has certainly earned this opportunity.

The Greatest Game Ever Played: T-Mac Retro Diary | Hardwood Paroxysm
Scott Leedy with a look back at how good T-Mac was on one unbelievable night with the Magic.

Around The League

Stan Van Gundy: Will Derrick Rose Ditch The Bulls If They Can't Land More Stars? - CBSSports.com
Cool it, everyone. He's still under contract for five more years.

Mark Cuban On How The Mavericks Nearly Completed A Trade For Kobe Bryant | Dallas Mavericks Blog
Jon Machota on how close the Mavericks were to acquiring Kobe Bryant in the summer of 2007.

Mark Cuban Says Kidd's Decision To Go To Knicks Will Keep Him Out Of Mavs' Rafters - CBSSports.com
I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE MAVERICKS WILL WIN A TITLE BEFORE THEY RETIRE THIS SELF-PROCLAIMED KNICKS' JERSEY.

You can take it to the bank.

Amar'e Stoudemire Once Again Vows Improvement On Defense - CBSSports.com
Matt Moore on Amar'e Stoudemire's annual exercise of pledging a new-found commitment to defense.

Andray Blatche Is Willing To Play In The D-League | Ball Don't Lie
It's amazing how Andray Blatche could potentially go from massive new contract to Rio Grande Valley in less than two years.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak On The Dwight Howard Deal: "We Thought It Was Dead" | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
Kelly Dwyer just pours more salt into the Rockets' wound.

Basketball Prospectus | Unfiltered
This is a few weeks old, but it's an interesting look at the best and worst teams of the last twenty years.

Random Junk

Ask An Anonymous PR Guy About The Shady Work Of Being A Pro Athlete's Publicist
This chat with an apparently notable sports PR guy is a must-read for any sports fan.

Rockets Video Of The Day

Kevin Martin buries Jazz with 3-point play in final seconds (via clutchfansDOTnet)

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