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Tracy McGrady and the New York Knicks... Again

As you may have read, there's been speculation that Tracy McGrady could end up in New York City, primarily from Newsday's Alan Hahn.  Not like we haven't heard this before.

However, this go-around, the timing of the chatter certainly makes sense.  McGrady and the Rockets, despite what each says, are clearly not on the same page, and a continued feud between the two could result in a decision to part ways.  It's a good foundation upon which to pile countless rumors and ideas.  As we here have said for months, it's not easy to trade a giant golden nugget such as McGrady.  That said, if there was one club out there who could make it work, it's probably the Knicks.

But even if a proposed trade works contractually, is it a good decision for the team?  I'm not sold.

1. We haven't seen him post-microfracture surgery yet. 

There's a number of folks out there who think that the surgery and the resulting rehab sessions have revitalized Tracy's career, but there's an equal number who think that while the surgery will heal his leg, it won't improve his game from the paltry form that we saw last season.  In other words, we don't know what we are presumably trading.  I'd like to see him in game action before anything happens.  At least ten games or so.

2. Who would we get in return? 

Proposed trades in the blogosphere have included the likes of Eddy Curry, Wilson Chandler, Cuttino Mobely's contract, Larry Hughes, Jared Jeffries... and draft picks (we'll come back to the latter soon enough).  None of that sounds very appealing to me, in terms of fitting in with the current roster we have.  None of those players are very efficient either.  Curry has always played smaller than his size, averaging 7 rebounds per game only once in his career.  He's been lamented for his below-averageness, inspiring a Yahoo! Fanasty Sports staple called the "Eddy Curry Line" in which a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined.  Whether it's fantasy or reality, it's not good.

Chandler is just as inefficient as Curry.  He doesn't get to the free throw line, and averages 12 points on 11 shots per game.  Sounds like Ron Artest doesn't it?  Except that Chandler isn't too good of a defender either, making Artest look that much better.  It's not something that we want to see return to Houston.

Hughes has always been a negative influence to his team, so much so that a popular (and hilarious, might I add) website was created after him.  We'll leave it at that.  And Jefferies has been a bust, at best.  At worst, he's been transparent.

To summarize, a deal with the Knicks would not be for a personnel upgrade.  It would be contractually motivated, so that the Rockets would be able to move McGrady and still be able to knock off 22-23 million dollars off of their salary payments next season.

3. There's no reason why we can't just bench McGrady. 

It would be cruel and unusual punishment, but assuming he comes back and gets hurt again, or if he is playing extremely poorly, we can send him to the pine.  This little incentive that Xiane was talking about a few days ago makes that a very appealing decision, assuming the worst from Tracy:

"Houston can start to collect up to 80 percent of his prorated per-game salary after he's missed 41 consecutive games. McGrady sat out his 42nd straight game Wednesday in Minnesota, and the league insurance plan would reimburse the Rockets for any additional missed games. For the rest of the season, the insurance policy could cover 80 percent of his per-game salary of $282,946."

4. We're not looking at the "now" as much as we're looking to the future.

Eddy Curry is not so appealing as to trade for him exclusively to plug him in this year and hope that he can make a difference before expiring next season (he does have a player option, though; we've been through that with Cook Daddy thus far, and it's not fun).  And if it's not evident enough, Trevor Ariza is a much more attractive developmental wing player than Chandler is.  Whereas Chandler looks to score, and takes up a lot of possessions to do so, Ariza fits in much better as a third option, which is what we're hoping to see him as come next season.  Yes, we're looking to compete this year, but there's no sense in messing with the future in order to bump a team up from the possible 8th slot in the West to the 5th slot.

5. He could be productive and could be an asset to the team... imagine that!

This news concerning his practice today helps to fortify that front.


Compared to the five reasons that I've laid out supporting McGrady's return to Houston, there are only two that I can think of supporting his exit.

1. He keeps acting up and becomes THAT MUCH of a distraction.

If it gets to the point where he's more of a hindrance than a help, albeit on or off the court, trading him for $$$$ is an acceptable solution.  Remember, the deal would not be to improve our current roster, but to move McGrady's attitude and his contract to New York in exchange for expiring contracts such as Mobely and Curry.

2. New York throws a few draft picks into the mix.

One Knicks source that I talked to discussed the possibility that the Knicks throw in a protected 2012 first round pick as well as a 2010 second round pick, or something of that nature.  If this were to ever be offered (D'Antoni has a long history of trading first rounders), then I think Daryl Morey would have to at least consider it.  Any chance to find more talent for the long run needs to be looked at.

In the end, this is all speculation, which is why I think it's kind of silly that I'm discussing it myself.  However, I thought you'd like to see the possibilites of a deal with the Knicks.  At least you've got a decent idea of what would be at stake.  Personally, I'd like to hold onto McGrady for now, but like I said, if draft picks are in the equation, it becomes much more interesting.