Tracy McGrady Rumors

And-Ones: McGrady, Mudiay, Wright, Faried

September 2 at 10:34pm CST By Cray Allred

Training camp is just four weeks away, and there’s been a recent uptick in players getting invited by NBA teams to compete for camp. Here’s a rundown of news and notes from around the league:

  • Tracy McGrady is contemplating an NBA comeback attempt while training with Kobe Bryant to get back in shape, he tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. None of the teams his representatives contacted have registered interest, however, and he’s still contractually obligated to tour China as part of a basketball showcase in October, when NBA teams are in training camp. “The comeback will not happen, unless I have the drive whenever I get back,” McGrady said. McGrady last played, sparingly, with the Spurs in 2012/13, and has since spent time playing Chinese basketball, as well as minor league baseball. McGrady retired roughly a year ago.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay, one of the premier 2015 draft prospects, has signed Raymond Brothers to be his agent, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. Mullen adds that Brothers negotiated Mudiay’s current contract with a Chinese team.
  • Julian Wright, out of the league since 2011, is considering pursuing a comeback via the D-League, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. Wright had been playing with a Russian team and performing well prior to an injury last December, according to Pick.
  • Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders thinks that Kenneth Faried‘s stellar play with Team USA will carry over into the season, and expects the Nuggets to wind up making the power forward their most high paid player. Whether Denver reaches an agreement with Faried on a rookie scale extension before the October deadline, or via restricted free agency next summer, Koutroupis predicts it will take upwards of $14MM in annual salary to lock up “The Manimal.”

And-Ones: McGrady, Barea, George, Bledsoe

August 4 at 10:36pm CST By Zach Links

Tracy McGrady, 35, is at peace with his decision to retire from professional basketball, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. While he says that he could still play in the NBA or an overseas league, and admits that he sometimes gets the itch, he’s no longer interested in putting in the necessary work. “At times I get…the urge to go back and play.  I still can, I’m young enough to still play.  My body feels good; I haven’t played in a couple of years so my body feels great.  It’s just the mental part of [not] having that drive to get back in that type of shape and to put that type of time and focus into it,” McGrady said. More from around the Association..

  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter) gets the sense that J.J Barea wouldn’t be involved in a two-team deal involving Kevin Love and maybe not even in a three-team deal.  Because his contract could be difficult to move, Wolfson wonders aloud if the stretch provision could be back in play for the Wolves when it comes to the guard.
  • None of the 19 players remaining on Team USA’s roster are planning to pull out of international competition following Paul George‘s catastrophic injury, report Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
  • Is Suns restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe a true No. 1 player?  David Nurse of HoopsHype looks at both sides of the argument.  On one hand, the guard has been the “other guy” everywhere he’s been from Kentucky (John Wall) to the Clippers (Chris Paul) to the Suns (Goran Dragic).  On the other hand, Bledsoe has looked like a mini-LeBron at times and is a major impact player on both sides of the court.  Ultimately, while a max contract may be tough to swallow, Nurse feels he’s worth it.
  • Mavs guard Monta Ellis could be the next NBA notable looking for a change of scenery, writes Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM.  The 29-year-old has a player option in his contract and could hit free agency next summer.  He’ll be looking for one last long-term deal and the Mavs might not want to lock themselves into a core with a number of defensive issues.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Tracy McGrady Talks Retirement, China, Future

October 24 2013 at 10:36am CST By Luke Adams

Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady announced his retirement this offseason, and while it initially appeared as if he’d leave the door open to continue playing in China, it now looks like his playing career is over. As T-Mac prepares to transition into the next stage of his career, he spoke at length with Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld about his decision to retire and his future plans. Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

On playing reduced roles over the last few seasons, and how that led to his retirement decision:

“I was just drained and tired of the bull****, to be honest with you. Not really getting the opportunity to show what I could do, I wasn’t going to put myself through that kind of situation again. Right now, I’m just enjoying my life and enjoying being free. It hasn’t been that way since I was 18 years old; every year grinding it out, getting my body ready for the NBA’s rigorous regular season. I’d be in training camp and preseason right now, but instead I get to relax and be with my kids, just enjoying life.”

On how knee injuries limited his productivity as an NBA player:

“I tried going to Germany [for platelet-rich plasma therapy] and I tried everything you could possibly try. I tried doing it the right way and it just didn’t happen. I got back healthy, but not to my explosive self. Confidence-wise and mentally, that was tough. It was probably the biggest challenge for me to get over. That hurdle was tough. It was just a mental block that I just couldn’t erase. I couldn’t do a lot of the moves that I was accustomed to doing, and it was challenging in the beginning. When I did overcome that, I had lost the desire to still play ball. The last three years, I gave it a go, but I was mentally ejected.”

On the possibility of playing in China again:

“I just wanted to play that one year and have my fans in China get to see me up close and personal before I shut it down. I really had no plans on playing over there again…. I don’t want to play basketball anymore, I’m over it. I enjoyed my 16-year career and now it’s time to open up that second chapter.”

On his future aspirations:

“I really don’t have any interest in coaching, but maybe I’ll be a GM. That’s something that I could see myself doing. I think playing in the league for so long and recognizing talent could help me in that job. Not only that, but I’m a student of the game. I know players, I know their tendencies, I know what they like to do. I have a high basketball I.Q. and I know the game. With that knowledge and experience, I think that would go a long way.”

Tracy McGrady Doesn’t Intend To Play In China

September 25 2013 at 8:33am CST By Luke Adams

Tracy McGrady officially announced his retirement from the NBA a month ago, but left the door open to return to the league in which he played last season: The Chinese Basketball Association. As recently as last week, we heard that T-Mac was contemplating playing one more year in China, telling the Sun Herald, "I have a lot of fans over there, so we'll see."

Now though, as rumors swirl about McGrady discussing a potential salary for 2013/14 with Chinese clubs, McGrady took to Weibo himself to announce that he currently doesn't have any plans to play in the CBA (hat tip to SportsKeeda.com).

"I want to let my fans know the Chinese media is making false statement about how much money I asked for to play in the CBA," McGrady wrote in a statement. "That's not the truth 'cause I have no intention on playing basketball in the NBA or the CBA. I'll keep you all posted on new updates, thanks!"

In 29 CBA games last season, McGrady averaged 25.0 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Qingdao Double Star Eagles, so he still seems to have plenty left in the tank. And just because he has indicated now that he doesn't intend to return overseas, that doesn't mean anything is set in stone. For now though, it seems the former ninth overall pick is content with retirement.

Yesterday, we heard that another former NBA All-Star, Gilbert Arenas, does plan to return to China for the coming season.

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Southeast Notes: Heat, McGrady, Battier, Miller

September 21 2013 at 10:39am CST By Zach Links

Here's today's look at the Southeast Division..

  • In today's mailbag, a reader asks Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if he thinks the Heat's Big Three could dissolve after winning a three peat to prove themselves individually elsewhere.  In Winderman's mind, there is no way anyone of consequence leaves if Miami wins a third straight title, except for older players who might retire.
  • Former Magic star Tracy McGrady is done playing in the NBA but the possibility still exists that he might continue his career in China, writes Mary Perez of the Sun Herald.  "I got a lot of fans over there, so we'll see," said the 34-year-old.  We heard earlier this month that there's mutual interest between McGrady and the Sichuan Jinqiang Whale of China, so that could be T-Mac's landing spot if he continues his career overseas.  
  • While Shane Battier was sad to see Mike Miller leave the Heat after being amnestied, he feels that Miller is in a better situation where he can find more minutes with the Grizzlies, Winderman writes.

Eastern Rumors: LeBron, Cavs, Beasley, McGrady

September 14 2013 at 3:40pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Eastern Conference figures to be more competitive this time around, with Derrick Rose back to boost the Bulls, an improved Pacers squad, and the best team money can buy for the Nets all around to challenge the Heat. Still, the majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted in yesterday's poll think the East will once more field the league's worst team, picking the Sixers to finish last. Here's the latest from the conference that has produced the last two champions and the last two teams to finish with the league's worst record:

  • The Cavaliers surely wouldn't mind it if LeBron James has a change of heart and wants to rejoin the wine-and-gold next summer, but the team isn't counting on him coming back to Cleveland, as Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer writes in her weekly mailbag column. Boyer also says she believes the Cavs are looking for another big man and a backup point guard, and she doesn't think a poor season for the team will mean the ouster of GM Chris Grant.
  • Mark Deeks of ShamSports confirms that Michael Beasley's minimum-salary contract with the Heat is essentially a training camp invitation, with no guaranteed money (Twitter link). 
  • Tracy McGrady reveals to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star that he wishes he never left the Raptors for Orlando in 2000, and he feels like the heavy minutes he played for the Magic took a toll on his body, which broke down long before most others do.
  • We rounded up news on Atlantic Division teams earlier today.

Southwest Rumors: McGrady, Hamilton, Covington

September 3 2013 at 7:35pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Spurs came tantalizingly close in June to giving late-season addition Tracy McGrady a championship ring before his NBA career concluded, but T-Mac's professional playing days might not be over just yet. Sources indicate to the Chengdu Business Daily that there's mutual interest between McGrady and the Sichuan Jinqiang Whale of China, according to China Daily USA. McGrady hinted at a return to China when he announced his NBA retirement last week. Here's more news related to the NBA's Southwest Division clubs:
  • Richard Hamilton is probably looking at no better than the minimum salary, but the Rockets, as well as the Knicks, are among teams that may have interest in the former Bull, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.
  • Undrafted small forward Robert Covington scored a full guarantee on the first year of his three-year deal with the Rockets, per Mark Deeks of ShamSports, and the former Tennessee State Tiger tells Jason Friedman of Rockets.com about what set him apart in summer league, his relationship with James Harden, and more.
  • HoopsWorld's Yannis Koutroupis names ex-Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins first on his list former NBA coaches likely to receive an offer the next time an opening emerges. Hollins beat out reigning Coach of the Year George Karl, who'd prefer to take a job with a Western Conference contender. 

Ric Bucher Compares T-Mac to AI & ‘Melo

August 31 2013 at 5:58pm CST By Spencer Lund

After announcing his retirement this week, there's been a large debate surrounding the career of Tracy McGrady. That polarization could best be summed up in the split vote in our poll asking whether McGrady should make the Hall of Fame earlier this week.  McGrady's peak seasons between 2001-2007 point to a dominant scorer who could also pass the ball and rebound.

T-Mac's 2002-03 season with the Magic saw him post the 16th best PER (Player Efficiency Rating) in NBA history, according to basketball-reference. Despite the numbers and the seven consecutive All-Star game appearances from 2001 through 2007, McGrady never led his team out of the first round of the playoffs. 

Grantland's E-I-C, Bill Simmons, wrote a long piece on the Friday before Labor Day weekend in which he blames McGrady's playoff failings almost exclusively on his supporting cast. Radio host for 95.7 The Game Ric Bucher has some thoughts on the matter (Sulia link).

While referencing Simmons' piece — where he spoke with McGrady's former coaches and peers and concluded that McGrady just wasn't hardwired to be a leader — Bucher believes that is a referendum on why McGrady didn't reach his full potential over his career. 

Bucher then compares McGrady with a contemporary, Allen Iverson, who also officially announced his retirement this month, and current player Carmelo Anthony:

Bill Simmons, in his wonderfully written and one of the longer dissertations on the subject, acknowledges TMac was not a leader. That's just it — once you state that and acknowledge how talented TMac was, you've outlined the crippling combination that foretold TMac never would be all that his talent promised. Such players aren't all that unique; Carmelo Anthony is another example. One of the absolutes in the NBA is that when the best player doesn't set the work-ethic bar for everyone else, a team has no hope of reaching its potential. Allen Iverson doesn't get to play the I-never-had-enough-talent-around-me card for the same reason. Both AI and TMac were never the defensive players they could've been. And when your effort to be in pristine condition is a question mark, as it was with McGrady, and injuries become chronic and sometimes debilitating, it's not as easy to blame bad luck and weak supporting casts.

Bucher goes on to write that McGrady chose to go to Orlando and Houston, even if they didn't have the supporting players he could have used to make a larger dint in the playoffs:

The other element either being overlooked or not widely known is that TMac chose to go to both Orlando and Houston, so it's not as if he was some helpless victim cast into inferior situations. Maybe that's how it turned out, maybe management misled him as far as what they intended to do, but he chose those situations over others. I've long said that on pure talent, TMac had more than Kobe; he was one of the rare few who had the pure ability to dominate whatever aspect of the game he chose, no matter who the opponent was. And as personalities go, I can vouch firsthand that few NBA players had a warmer one. All of which makes painting him as a sympathetic figure or a guy who didn't have the luck that so many others enjoyed easy. Dead wrong, but easy.

Odds & Ends: Odom, Dentmon, T-Mac, Minnerath

August 30 2013 at 7:47pm CST By Luke Adams

On the heels of reports that Lamar Odom has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, at least one NBA general manager believes the veteran forward's NBA career is over.

"Just going by what he is giving you on the court, he would have been a risk anyway, maybe someone you give a partial guarantee to just to see if he can turn things around," the GM told Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. "But with the circus that’s around him off the court now, no way."

As Odom continues to work through his off-court issues, let's check in on a few more odds and ends from around the Association:

Poll: Is Tracy McGrady A Hall-Of-Famer?

August 27 2013 at 8:48am CST By Luke Adams

When Tracy McGrady officially announced his retirement from the NBA yesterday, a debate over his Hall of Fame candidacy got underway almost immediately. Because McGrady left the door open to continue his playing career overseas, the clock on his eligibility won't start ticking yet, but his NBA resumé appears to be complete.

An ESPN.com 5-on-5 panel unanimously agreed that McGrady deserves to be elected to the Hall of Fame, but in an Insider piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton points out the many pitfalls of the 34-year-old's candidacy: Back and knee injuries may have prevented him from reaching his full potential, and limited his career totals — he's only 57th all-time in NBA scoring, for instance, trailing several non-Hall-of-Famers. Additionally, despite a cup of coffee for the Spurs in 2012/13, McGrady never played regular minutes for a team that advanced beyond round one of the playoffs.

Nonetheless, as Pelton notes, no player that has earned All-NBA honors seven or more times has failed to be elected to the Hall. And when peak performance is considered, rather than career value, McGrady stacks up favorably against the best players of his generation.

What do you think? Does McGrady deserve to be elected to the Hall of Fame in a few years, or does his candidacy fall just short?