See Ya She-Mac!
Sources: Rockets to seek McGrady deal
By Marc Stein
The Houston Rockets have granted Tracy McGrady an indefinite leave from the team and will work with his representatives to find a new home for the seven-time All-Star via trade, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com on Monday that phone discussions between Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, coach Rick Adelman and one of McGrady's agents, Arn Tellem, led to an agreement that both sides would work together in pursuit of a palatable trade before the league's annual trading deadline on Feb. 18.
McGrady has been asking for more playing time as he tries to come back from offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee. He left the team and returned to Houston over the weekend.
The Rockets, sources said, are adamant about not buying out the remainder of McGrady's $23 million expiring contract and enabling him to become a free agent during the season. Yet, they also remain unprepared to promise the extended minutes McGrady has been seeking.
Sources said the sides agreed Monday that the best compromise is letting McGrady leave the team to work out on his own in hopes that a deal can be struck and so his teammates and coaches will be spared from the distraction of daily questions about McGrady's status.
The Houston Chronicle first reported Monday night that McGrady's representatives asked for a trade.
The 30-year-old McGrady promised to team with Yao Ming and return the Rockets to prominence when he arrived in a trade with the Orlando Magic in June 2004. But his five-season tenure was marked more by injuries than team success.
He averaged 25.7 points and 5.5 assists in his first season, but the Rockets lost to Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.
McGrady's numbers steadily declined as his health became more of an issue. He missed 34 games in 2005-06 with back injuries and that lingered into the following season.
He hurt his elbow and his knee early in the 2007-08 season and missed a total of 16 games. He was in and out of the lineup last season and finally opted for the risky, season-ending surgery around the All-Star break.
Without him, the Rockets won their first playoff series since 1997, then fought the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the second round.
McGrady spent the summer working with Tim Grover, Michael Jordan's former trainer. The Rockets, meanwhile, acquired Trevor Ariza to fill McGrady's role in the lineup. Ariza even took McGrady's No. 1 and is the Rockets' third-leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game.
The Rockets already knew they'd play this season without Yao, who underwent foot surgery after the season. But Houston is a surprising 18-13 heading into Tuesday's game against New Orleans and with each game, it seemed increasingly clear that McGrady no longer had a clear role on the team.
He came off the bench to average 7.7 minutes in six games and hit only 7 of 19 shots in his brief return. Adelman never firmly said when McGrady's playing time would increase.
CANADIANS = DOUCHERS