Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when breaking up requires making a switch instead of just dropping the person you’re currently with.
I’m not completely certain, but I think it’s time for the Houston Rockets and Tracy McGrady to part ways. I wouldn’t say that the McGrady/Yao Ming combination has failed just yet, as Oly Sandor mentioned in his article from earlier today, but it’s certainly looking as if it’s not going to be the best fit.
The problem here is that people everywhere are quite aware of T-Mac’s growing reputation as an injury waiting to happen. His chronic back trouble is the most worrisome of the things that might sideline him, but there are various ailments that seem to surface every year. Combine those concerns with his salary and his inability to reach the second round of the playoffs and you start to realize that this task could prove to be quite difficult.
Because McGrady isn’t a problem in the locker room and because his skills aren’t really deteriorating, there’s no pressure to move him. I’d say at this point that maybe the Rockets should just float his name out there and listen to the offers that come in. Unless there’s something that is certain to make the team better, you wait. This means that you don’t take anyone’s bad contract (this means you, Ben Wallace) unless has to be taken to get someone that you can’t refuse (this does not mean you, Ben Gordon).
I’ve been rolling this around in my head for a while now, trying to think of a team that has something to gain by trading for McGrady and that has something that the Rockets could use. In my estimation, the team needs a reliable scoring threat outside of Yao and a power forward that is equal parts size and strength to watch Yao’s back.
Both of these things might already be on the team. Luis Scola should be an above average player in this league and players seem to step up when they aren’t depending on McGrady to carry them. This probably explains why McGrady’s latest absence hasn’t hurt the team as much as usual. In fact, the team’s recent improvements are part of the reason I think that their earlier struggles with McGrady point to the need to start moving in another direction.
Like I stated previously, I don’t have a definite trade in mind that I think both teams would agree to. Do the Rockets want to get worse before they get better? How soon do they want to win? Before the season started, predicting a Finals that included Houston wasn’t a huge stretch. That leads me to think that the franchise would rather get things straight right now instead of rebuilding.
The team is going to be centered around Yao, as it should be. There are sufficient shooters surrounding him already. A 20-point-per-game scorer would be nice, someone who can create their own shot without having to dominate the ball to get their offense. Someone who can play in Rick Adelman’s motion offense.
I don’t think the perfect scenario is out there right now, but it could come in the future, maybe as soon as this summer. Until then, I’m content to know that I can look at other people, I just can’t have them. Not yet, anyway.