The Houston Chronicle is reporting tonight that the Rockets have decided to part ways with former all-star Tracy McGrady, who was granted an indefinite leave while the team pursues trade possibilities.
You can expect Donnie Walsh will once again attempt to engage Rockets GM Daryl Morey in talks to acquire McGrady. As we have reported, Walsh and the Knicks have kept tabs on the McGrady situation since the offseason.
From what we understand, the Rockets are not interested in taking back salary that goes beyond this season. McGrady is a valuable expiring contract worth $23M, which is a huge chunk to drop off the payroll going into this summer. It is highly unlikely the Rockets would want to exchange that kind of salary cap relief to add Eddy Curry ($11.2M), who hasn't been able to stay on an NBA court for over a year now and Jared Jeffries ($6.8M) who may play the kind of tenacious D that Rick Adelman preaches, but can't make layups in traffic.
The Knicks have several expiring contracts that may work financially -- Larry Hughes ($13M) and Al Harrington ($10M) are the obvious choices -- but the Rockets would probably hope to get more than that for an all-star caliber talent that could put the Knicks over the top in the playoff hunt in the East. Would the Knicks need to toss in rookie Jordan Hill? I think that wouldn't kill a deal.
But Danilo Gallinari? Forget it. David Lee? No chance.
Even Wilson Chandler might be asking too much. McGrady still has some rust to shed and there are no guarantees he will be able to bring it on the offensive end like he used to -- don't even think about defense....if the Knicks get McGrady, their defense-first mentality would certainly take a back seat to scoring -- so it's still somewhat of a risk for the Knicks. They're already dealing with one reclamation project in Jonathan Bender.
What is in the Knicks' favor is that is isn't expected that there will be many teams lining up with competitive bids for McGrady, a well-known diva who is allergic to practice. The Miami Heat could offer up Jermaine O'Neal straight-up because the expiring contracts match and J-O has played well lately. T-Mac and Wade have the Tim Grover connection, but could they co-exist in the same offense?
Well, it certainly would test Wade's theory that he and LeBron James could work together playing with just one ball.
While we're talking trade rumors, it's starting to get out that the Cavaliers are fielding offers for veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. As we wrote in a recent NBA Hot Shots column, the Cavs are mulling a deal with the Pacers for Troy Murphy. But if they're looking for more defense, perhaps Jared Jeffries -- who has proven he can guard Rajon Rondo, and the Cavs will have to go through Boston to get to the Finals -- might be worth a peek?