AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Mike D'Antoni used the word "intriguing" three times Tuesday when talking about Tracy McGrady, making it pretty clear that the Knicks will make a play for the disgruntled Rockets player.
The Knicks seriously considered signing Iverson last month before he signed as a free agent with Philadelphia. And Knicks president Donnie Walsh has talked with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey about McGrady in the offseason and has been keeping tabs on the situation in Houston as it deteriorated. Morey said Tuesday that the Rockets "have agreed to look into trade opportunities and have granted [McGrady] an indefinite leave from team activities."
McGrady was unhappy with his playing time in six games since returning from microfracture surgery on his left knee and left the team before two road games over the weekend.
McGrady is in the final year of a $23.2-million contract, which makes him incredibly attractive to a number of teams looking to lop off a huge chunk of their payroll and become players in the 2010 free-agent market. It seems unlikely that the Rockets would want to exchange that kind of salary-cap relief for players who don't have expiring contracts.
D'Antoni said McGrady may still have some rust to shake off after recovering from knee surgery.
"That's a question that needs to be asked and answered," said D'Antoni, "but there's also the question of can he help you make the playoffs this year."