Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal Plan To Open Agency

Former NBA stars Tracy McGrady and Jermaine O’Neal intend to open a player representation agency this fall, they tell Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The duo plans to call the new agency Seven1 Sports Group and Entertainment. As Stein notes, the name is a combination of the two players’ jersey numbers as NBA players — O’Neal wore No. 7, while McGrady was No. 1.

According to Stein, McGrady and O’Neal are financially secure but have discussed the agency idea over the last couple years, with those talks intensifying over the last few months during the coronaavirus pandemic. The two former NBA stars view player representation as the best path for them to help young basketball players — especially young Black players.

“We think it’s needed, and we have a passion for it,” McGrady said. “We’re around kids every single day because we have youth programs. It just makes sense. We see the lack of information that these kids are getting, so we would be doing a disservice to our people if we don’t lend our expertise of what we know and help guide them. This is a calling that we have.”

As Stein details, the plan is for O’Neal to take the NBPA test in January to become a registered NBA agent. He would hold partner status in the new agency alongside McGrady, who would likely step away from his current broadcasting role, serving as the agency’s co-owner and as an adviser to players.

Many former NBA players transition into coaching jobs, front offices roles, or broadcasting careers, but the player-to-agent jump is less common. As Stein observes, B.J. Armstrong is perhaps the most notable former NBA player to make that move. McGrady and O’Neal acknowledge that it won’t be easy to break into the business and challenge established agents for current NBA players and/or top incoming prospects, but they’re optimistic their efforts will pay off.

“At the end of the day, they can’t get all the players,” McGrady said of those established agents. “Obviously it’s going to take us some time to get our feet wet and really understand how this thing works. But we’re not intimidated by anybody. We know there’s going to be a lot of people trying to poke holes into this.”

McGrady and O’Neal certainly have the NBA résumés to impress potential clients — while neither player won a championship, McGrady made seven All-Star teams, earned seven All-NBA nods, and won a pair of scoring titles in 15 seasons, en route to a Hall of Fame berth. O’Neal, meanwhile, made six All-Star teams and three All-NBA squads in 18 seasons. The two players also won consecutive Most Improved Player awards — McGrady in 2001 and O’Neal in 2002.

And-Ones: Durant, Superteams, French National Team

Multiple teams around the NBA still consider Kevin Durant a talent worth investing max money in, despite the ruptured Achilles that will sideline him through 2019/20. Ben Golliver of the Washington Post weighs in on several franchises that could entertain the idea this summer.

Golliver writes that the Clippers, backed by billionaire Steve Ballmer could afford to sign Durant, tinker with the impressive lineup that led them to the postseason this spring, and then hit the ground running with Durant in 2020/21. That’s a scenario that would be ever dreamier if they were able to land Kawhi Leonard this summer as well.

Of course Durant’s absence next season will still have some impact on his value. Could the revelation that Durant won’t play in 2019/20 derail a potential pairing with Kyrie Irving in New York? Would Irving prefer instead to work with a different star in Brooklyn?

These are questions we’ll get answers to eventually but for now one thing is clear, Durant’s value remains high but that’s not to say that his Achilles hasn’t still thrown the league for a loop.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Is this the beginning of the end of the Superteam Era? Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wonders as much in a video released on Instagram, suggesting players around the league are showing a greater interest in leading their own teams. For the past decade, star players have seemingly gravitated to one another to stack the deck and win championships but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, if the Raptors’ 2019 title plays a small role in the ushering out the Superteam Era, they’ll be walking right back into a climate that saw former Raptor star Tracy McGrady bolt the franchise for the chance to get out of Vince Carter‘s shadow and lead his own Magic squad.
  • Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas has received interest from a number of NBA teams and has several offers to join teams on non-guaranteed pre-season camp deals, international basketball reported Donatas Urbonas tweets.
  • The preliminary French national team for the 2019 World Cup has been revealed and a number of household NBA names will fortify a competitive roster. As seen at Sportando, Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier are the biggest names on the preliminary roster but they’re not the only ones with big league credentials.

Tracy McGrady Says Carmelo Anthony Should Retire

As Carmelo Anthony continues to sit out with what the Rockets call an illness, one prominent former player thinks that Anthony should call it quits and retire from the NBA. Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, speaking while appearing on Tuesday’s edition of ESPN’s The Jump, said:

“You know what? I honestly think Melo should retire, I really do… I don’t want him to go through another situation like this, and people are just pouring negativity on this man’s legacy. I really think, because it hasn’t worked out the last two teams, just go ahead and — you have a Hall of Fame career — just go ahead and let it go.”

Rumors have swirled about Anthony’s status with the Rockets as he continues to miss games, with a report on Sunday suggesting that his tenure with Houston is expected to come to an end very soon.

Today, we relayed that the Heat could be an option for Anthony should the Rockets move on from him, and his representatives are sure to still be exploring all possible destinations. The Sixers and Lakers have also been mentioned, but reports suggest neither option is very likely.

Magic Hire Tracy McGrady As Special Assistant To CEO

Former Magic star Tracy McGrady is rejoining the franchise in a front office role, reports Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. According to Robbins, McGrady will serve as a special assistant to Orlando CEO Alex Martins.

A Florida native, McGrady enjoyed some of his best seasons as a player in Orlando between 2000 and 2004, earning spots in four consecutive All-Star games and leading the league in scoring twice as a member of the Magic. Now, the Hall-of-Famer’s duties will include helping to promote and market Orlando’s new G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, Robbins writes.

In addition to working with the Magic’s G League team, McGrady is expected to work occasionally with Magic players and coaches on and off the court, and may even get involved in recruiting free agents, according to Robbins.

McGrady’s return to the Magic comes 13 years after he parted with the franchise on “strained terms,” as Robbins puts it. It also coincides with the first year for Orlando’s new management group, which includes president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond. The duo was hired earlier this year after the Magic parted ways with GM Rob Hennigan.

2017 Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Announced

The 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame class was announced this afternoon on ESPN2 (link). Tracy McGrady, Rebecca Lobo, Bill Self, Muffet McGraw, Robert Hughes, Jerry Krause, George McGinnis, Tom Jernstedt, Nikos Galis, Zack Clayton and Mannie Jackson all made the cut as inductees.

A seven-time All-Star whose career spanned 17 seasons, McGrady received the HoF nod in his first year on the ballot. T-Mac, who battled injuries throughout his career, announced his retirement following the 2012/13 season, in which he made six postseason appearances with the Spurs.

Dikembe Mutombo, a Hall-of-Famer and former teammate of McGrady’s, was overjoyed to see Tracy’s selection.

“To have two of my friends, Tracy and Yao [Ming], who competed with me for the Houston Rockets, one of the great organizations, to see them in the Hall of Fame, that means a lot,” Mutombo told Mark Berman of Fox 26. “It’s something I can sit down with my kids and tell them I was not the only Hall of Famer out there with the Houston Rockets. I was lucky and fortunate to play with the other two.”

A pioneer of the WNBA, Lobo had been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Following a successful career with the UConn Huskies, Lobo played for the New York Liberty in the WNBA’s inaugural season. Lobo would play in parts of six WNBA seasons, playing for the Houston Comets and Connecticut Sun following her time in New York.

Krause, the former Bulls’ GM, was inducted posthumously, as the former executive passed away on March 21. Serving as the Bulls’ GM for over 18 seasons, Krause is credited as the architect of Chicago’s roster during Michael Jordan’s tenure.

And-Ones: McGrady, Draft, Hamilton

The league has been canvassing team executives about the idea of eliminating as much as half of the preseason to make the regular season about 10 days longer, thus building more off days into the schedule, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. Any reduction in the preseason wouldn’t take place until the 2016/17 season at the earliest, according to Lowe, and the league has also brought up the idea of allowing organized team activities during the offseason like
the National Football League does, Lowe writes.

Here’s more from around the NBA and abroad:

  • A recent report from Bleacher Report’s Les Carpenter left some ambiguity about whether Tracy McGrady wanted to return to the NBA, but McGrady confirmed via his verified Facebook account that he no longer wants to play.
  • There will be more than a dozen NBA scouts in Spain tonight to observe Barcelona taking on Fenerbahce, with their primary focus being on Mario Hezonja, a projected lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Chris Mannix of reports (Twitter link).
  • Chad Ford of (Insider subscription required) has released his second mock draft of the year. Ford projects the top three picks in the 2015 draft to be Jahlil Okafor (Duke), Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky), and Emmanuel Mudiay (Guangdong).
  • The Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League traded for the rights to former NBA player Jordan Hamilton today, the team announced in a press release. In the deal, the Bighorns, the affiliate of the Kings, also acquired the Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ second round pick in the 2015 D-League draft. In return, Reno sent their 2015 first round pick in the D-League draft to the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate. Hamilton spent the 2014 preseason with the Raptors, before being acquired off of waivers by the Jazz, who later waived him themselves. The Lakers had expressed some interest in Hamilton, but declined to sign him after he worked out for the team last month.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: McGrady, Carter, Mavs

Tracy McGrady thinks the Lakers would be the ideal team for him if he were to return to play in the NBA, as he told Bleacher Report’s Les Carpenter (hat tip to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports). McGrady was contemplating a comeback this fall, as Wojnarowski wrote in September, but a commitment to a basketball showcase that would have him in China during October got in the way. McGrady doesn’t want to play for an NBA team unless he attends training camp with that club, Carpenter writes, so that presumably means he won’t return to the league this season.

Here’s more from out west:

  • Vince Carter will be 40 years old when his contract with the Grizzlies expires in 2017, and the veteran has every intention of playing until then, Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (Twitter links). “My intentions are to play it out for sure. I have no intentions of backing down until the body says so,” Carter said. “Right now I just take it day by day and year by year and go from there.”
  • The Mavs are finding their point guard-by-committee approach to be successful thus far this season, Steve Aschburner of writes. Instead of having a true star at the point, Dallas has instead opted for a quartet of “heady decision-makers” that have all been acquired since June, and who don’t take up a large amount of cap space, Aschburner notes. “The guards we have now, everyone brings a little something different,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Jameer [Nelson] is probably the best shooter, Devin [Harris] is a great driver. I think Raymond [Felton] has the in-between game. I don’t even know what J.J. [Barea] does. We just give him the ball and he just goes wild out there. We run a couple pick-and-rolls for him, he keeps circling and circling. So I think all four guards bring something to the table, which we need.”
  • Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson briefly addressed the negative comments made against him by Golden State’s co-owner Joe Lacob, Carl Steward of The San Jose Mercury News reports. Speaking at his weekly sermon, Jackson said, “[Lacob] said I was good for nothing, an owner that knew me for three years and spent a couple of minutes around me, an owner that had the audacity to say that 200 folks don’t like me in the business.”
  • The remaining $620,794 of the $2,316,429 trade exception the Kings created from the Rudy Gay trade is set to expire tonight. Sacramento had previously used $1,695,635 of this exception when they acquired Reggie Evans from the Nets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: McGrady, Mudiay, Wright, Faried

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 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

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
  • 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

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.”