Liftoff: T-Mac headed to Houston
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady got his wish Tuesday as the Orlando Magic dealt the superstar guard to the Houston Rockets in a seven- player blockbuster trade.
Along with McGrady, the Magic also sent forward Juwan Howard and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Rockets.
Houston shipped fan favorite Steve Francis, guard Cuttino Mobley and forward/center Kelvin Cato to the Magic. The deal is contingent on all players passing physicals.
McGrady wanted to leave the Magic and said he would opt out of his contract after next season. McGrady, who has won the scoring title in each of the last two seasons, has repeatedly said he would like to leave if the team did not make a quick improvement. Orlando finished the 2003-04 season with a league- worst 21-61 record.
The relationship between the franchise and the All-Star guard had worsened over last season and Orlando became increasingly frustrated with some of McGrady’s antics. McGrady was criticized for publicly ripping teammates, his so-so practice habits and his lack of desire to lead the team.
The 25-year-old McGrady spent four seasons with the Magic and averaged 28.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last year. McGrady, drafted out of high school by Toronto with the ninth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, spent his first three campaigns with the Raptors.
For his career, McGrady has posted 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest and has been named as a member of the All-NBA First Team on two occasions.
McGrady signed a seven-year, $93 million contact with Orlando as a free agent in the summer of 2000 with a clause that allowed him to opt out after the 2004-05 season.
Francis, meanwhile, averaged 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds for the Rockets last season. The former Maryland star will be counted on to resurrect a slumping Orlando squad. Francis had been a vital cog in the Rockets’ organization, having averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds in five seasons.
Houston was eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2004 playoffs, while Orlando missed the postseason after being bounced in the first round last year.HOU ORL