This is when I became a Rockets fan. This is the trade that piqued my interest.
#4 - Rockets acquire Tracy McGrady in blockbuster deal with Magic - 6/29/04
Rockets acquire: G Tracy McGrady, F Juwan Howard, G Tyronn Lue, G Reece Gaines
Magic acquire: G Steve Francis, C Kelvin Cato, F Cuttino Mobley
I was six years old when the Rockets traded for two-time scoring champion Tracy McGrady.
There was a new NBA forming, and with 25-year old T-Mac entering his prime joining forces with a third-year center from China named Yao Ming, the Rockets had a case to be the newest Western Conference powerhouse.
When T-Mac scored 13 points in 35 seconds in easily the wildest moment in franchise history, I realized I wanted to be a basketball player when I grew up. Granted, I was never meant to be a basketball player given my short stature and build, but hey, I get to write about my favorite team. I shot for the moon and landed on the stars.
This trade also featured six very important pieces, so I’ll recap them for you starting with Orlando.
Steve Francis was a three-time All-Star and the main piece traded for T-Mac. Unfortunately for the Magic, Francis was only a fraction of the player he was in Houston and was gone after two seasons.
Kelvin Cato suffered the same fate as Francis. After having a decent 2004-05 season, he washed away into oblivion and was gone before ‘05-’06 ended.
Cuttino Mobley was also an important part of the Rockets teams in the early 2000s after coming on board in 1999. He did not even last a full season in Orlando before being traded to Sacramento in the middle of the year.
So, long story short, Orlando’s pieces amounted to very little for the team. None of the players sent from Houston to Orlando made a large impact for the team.
As for Houston, things were slightly different.
Even though Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines did not see a full season in Rockets red, Juwan Howard spent three seasons with the team, one of which he averaged 11.8 points per game as the team’s starting small forward. He became a mentor for Yao and a veteran presence for a team trying to make the next step.
However, the main piece of the deal is where our focus should lie.
McGrady spent parts of six seasons with the Rockets, and even though they may not have been the best of his career, he was not too shabby with the Rockets. He averaged 22.7 points per game in his five and a half seasons and went to the All-Star Game three times.
The one knock on T-Mac’s career is he never led the team past the first round of the playoffs, but he kept the Rockets competitive and relevant. He would lead the Rockets to seven-game series against Dallas and Utah in his Houston career but they came up short. In 2008-09, the team made it to the second round, but he only played 35 games that year due to injury.
Injuries held T-Mac from having an excellent Rockets career and it did not meet its full potential. However, he still goes down as one of the greatest Rockets of all-time for being the face of a franchise during a very exciting Rockets era.
I’ll leave this article with this, which is surely going to bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye, or both: