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Tracy McGrady: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

Let me get this straight... at least in a timeline sort of way:

On Monday, February 9th... McGrady says he's fine and healthy.  Yet on a breakaway he admits to being nervous and ends up completely botching a dunk because he was scared.  He finishes the game 1-9 and the Rockets get blown out by Milwaukee.

On Wednesday, February 11th, the Rockets beat Sacramento, but without the services of McGrady.  Who says that his knee is giving him problems again and he wants a second opinion from other doctors (not Dr. James Andrews though - Dr. Andrews already said he was fine).

The Rockets then begin the All Star break after the Sacramento game.  McGrady immediately escapes to go dance the night away in Vegas the whole weekend.  I guess doctors will make house calls to Vegas.

On Tuesday, February 17th, the Rockets return and host the New Jersey Nets.  Tracy McGrady is nowhere to be found.  Apparently the trainer's room didn't have the most recent copy of Vogue so Tracy decided not to be with the team for the game.  The Rockets hear many trade rumors about Vince Carter but Les Alexander says there is no way the team is trading McGrady and also calls him a great competitor (when healthy).  Because the team supports McGrady.

The Rockets beat the Nets by almost thirty without McGrady.  The Rockets are now 13-6 without Tracy McGrady this year.

Then, without warning, on Tuesday night... just minutes after the conclusion of the Rockets/Nets game... STEPHEN A. SMITH goes on ESPN to announce that McGrady has decided to have microfracture sugery in his troublesome knee and that his season is over.

That is all well and good... we knew that the knee was bothering McGrady... we knew he was having a series of MRIs to figure out what was wrong... and the Rockets supported his decision entirely.  Oh, wait...

After learning the bad news that his knee is wrecked and he needs career-threatening microfracture sugery, Tracy McGrady shared the bad news with the following people:

his family (?)
Les Alexander
Daryl Morey
his Rockets teammates

Rick Adelman
Anyone with the Houston Chronicle

Now that doesn't make any sense, does it?  Let's see, if you get hurt at work... you tell your boss, right?  Or at least the person who writes your paychecks?  Maybe even a couple of co-workers to say you'll be missing work for a while (unless you are Peter Gibbons)?  Nope... not T-Mac.  He doesn't do things like that.

So what does Tracy do?  Two days before the trading deadline, he goes out and absolutely screws over his team.  By announcing that his season is done, the Rockets lost any leverage they may have had in trade negotiations.  This is the anti-Bill Belichick school of thought.  Or, as the Godfather would say:  never let anyone outside of the family know what you are thinking.  It is simply bad for business.

Now, there is a school of thought that McGrady made this announcement because he doesn't want to be traded and he wants to stay in Houston.  I don't buy it.  I don't think McGrady is able to think that many steps ahead.  He doesn't exactly strike me a grandmaster of chess.  Besides, he is a paid employee of the team, and he's getting his $23M in 2010 whether he's healthy or not.  So he should have just shut up and kept the news to himself until the TEAM decided to make a public announcement.  Tracy is simply too selfish to think about how his decision and subsequent announcement would affect his team.  We shouldn't be surprised. It's entirely consistent with his character.

Meanwhile, Tracy may be all happy with himself that he found a supposed solution to his knee problems... but the following people are pissed off at him for how he handled the situation:

Daryl Morey
Les Alexander
Rick Adelman
Jerome Solomon
Richard Justice (and I hate agreeing with Dickie)
most likely his teammates, too... though they are too professional to actually bitch about Tracy's announcement publicly.

If there's a wrong way and a wrong time to make announcements of this magnitude... McGrady maximized both.  Worst part?  I don't even think he cares what we think.

Of course, leave it to Shane Battier to sum things up perfectly:

"If the reports are true, it gives us certainty," said forward Shane Battier. "We can finally move on. We know who we have, and we don't have to worry about who is coming back from injury." 

Battier said the Rockets will adapt easier to McGrady's absence than they did to Yao's.  "When Yao went down, that was devastating," Battier said. "Obviously, Tracy is a great player and he's a big part of what we did. But Yao, at the time, was our foundation."

Translation?  You are replaceable, Tracy.  And everyone knows it now.

McGrady quit on the team in the Toronto game.  At the time I thought that would be his worst offense.  I was wrong.

On Tuesday?  He sold the Rockets out.