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Knicks closing in on McGrady deal?

According to several reports out of All-Star Weekend in Dallas, Tracy McGrady's most likely move by Thursday's trade deadline will be New York.

Houston TV station KPRC reported on it's website yesterday that McGrady was preparing to travel to New York by the "middle of the week," according to a source close to McGrady. The channel cited two sources saying McGrady, who was sent away from the Rockets in December while the team considered trade offers, is already preparing for a trade to the Knicks.

Howard Beck of the New York Times also reported on Sunday that the Knicks have renewed talks with the Rockets about McGrady. Marc Berman of he New York Post had a story about the talks remaining active, as well.

McGrady is said to favor the Knicks over other options -- the Chicago Bulls are also interested -- mainly because of the Garden stage and the fact that, in Mike D'Antoni's system, he would have the ball in his hands as a primary element of the offense. McGrady's size (6-8) and shooting ability would make him tough to guard on the pick-and-roll with David Lee, who has seen more and more double-teams, as opponents have almost completely stopped guarding the weak-shooting Chris Duhon.

It's a low-risk move for the Knicks, who are 19-32 coming out of the break and are, as D'Antoni said last week, "at the end of our rope" in the playoff race. The greatest concern is that McGrady, who had microfracture surgery last February, isn't physically able to play at a high-level like he's used to. But the deal -- or any deal Donnie Walsh does between now and the deadline -- is almost assured to include Al Harrington and perhaps even Larry Hughes. Removing veterans from the roster opens up playing time for young players, such as Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill.

Then again, we have reported since December that the Rockets have maintained they want a young player -- Jordan Hill being the prominent name -- in any deal for McGrady.

New York Sports