Friday , Sep , 18 , 2009 Christopher Sells

The Re-Return of T-Mac. Allegedly.

McGrady is the latest superstar to claim that he’ll return to form after missing significant time due to injury. This isn’t the first time he has made such a claim, so forgive Rocket fans’ skepticism.

The Re-Return of T-Mac. Allegedly.We fans of the Houston Rockets have a strained relationship with Tracy McGrady. This is putting it mildly. If we were dating, McGrady would be that person who we used to be so in love with. He used to bring flowers and candy, say nice things to us and be emotionally supportive. He used to score points by the bunches, bring maximum effort while on the floor and  do all the little things that made us believe he was one of the best in the league.

Those days are long gone.

Now we spend most of our time fighting and bickering back and forth. He wants us to be supportive and we want him to prove that he’s committed. He has decided he is going to prove all of us wrong and we just don’t believe in him anymore. In fact, we wouldn’t even be together anymore if we didn’t have to be. His huge contract has been the lease that we can’t afford to break on the apartment that we can’t afford to rent by ourselves.

Now things have gone from bad to worse. With Yao Ming probably shelved for the upcoming 09-10 season and Ron Artest singing karaoke as a Laker, the Rockets’ talent level has dwindled considerably. The team is faced with the prospect of depending on Aaron Brooks and newly-signed Trevor Ariza to carry the team for an entire season. Houston has experience playing without its two oft-injured stars for short amounts of time, but never for an entire season. Many– if not most– fans are of the opinion that this will be a lost season, a non-playoff effort to follow the team’s first second-round playoff series in more than decade. If ever there were a time that McGrady was  needed, it would be now.

It turns out that T-Mac may indeed be available. And not halfway through the season as was anticipated, but maybe for training camp. And he could even be the player that we used to know.  At least those are the reports out of Chicago. There’s an unusual amount of optimism in that piece, but if McGrady and his trainer are to be believed, he might be ready to return to All-Star form. Like any mistreated companion, we fans are skeptical and jaded. McGrady doesn’t care and he’s telling us so.

I’m not necessarily worried about the doubters saying anything. If they feel like I can’t [get] back to the player I once was I don’t care about that. That’s not gonna motivate me. What motivates me is I’m not finished. I got some unfinished business left on the court. I’m not happy the way last season went, so that’s motivation in itself. I know what I’m gonna do and what I’m gonna get back to, so I know where I’m gonna be. Once I leave this place and I’m healthy, I’m gonna be ready because I’m not satisfied the way last season went.

That same atricle tells us that McGrady finally switched trainers after this surgery, after being asked to do so many times in the past. As a result, he has been doing some different things and rehabbing like he never did before. He says he feels different and healthy and he can already tell that he’s going to be a better player this year.

In case you’re wondering, McGrady’s contract does expire this year. So maybe these things are true; maybe he’s toying with our emotions a bit. Maybe he’s just doing this because he knows his play this season determines whether he’ll get a decent contract this summer. Whatever the case may be, the Rockets stand to benefit. It’s really a win/win situation.

If McGrady is the player of old (or even if he’s merely good enough to contribute), the team gets a player on the floor when it’s hard to keep guys healthy.

If things aren’t any better and Mac is back to being injured and unhappy, he has an expiring contract that some team will finally be willing to trade for. Or the Rockets could keep the money for themselves. There’s really no wrong answer here.

So Tracy, we’re giving you another chance. We know how you feel and you know how we feel. If it works out, then great. If it doesn’t work, we’ll part ways and maybe be friends later. But we’re looking towards our future and if we see someone that will be better for us, we’re going to take that opportunity. We’re sorry it has to be this way, but you’ve just hurt us too many times.

(By the way, click here to watch video of a pickup game McGrady is supposedly participating in. The video is less than stellar, so it’s hard to tell if the guy in the black 32 jersey is really him, but the person who passed this along swears it is. If it is him, it’s hard to draw any real conclusions from this, but he moving around and playing at least.)