Between what’s happened with former stars like Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson, we sadly must admit that if Tracy McGrady signs on with a Chinese team this year, he’ll basically be announcing his NBA retirement. At that point, we doubt we’d ever see T-Mac in the NBA again. That’s just the way these things are going, and unfortunately, Yahoo! Sports is saying the former scoring champ is finalizing a deal for one year with Qingdao of the Chinese Basketball Association. T-Mac will look at this as a short term solution. No one wanted him this summer, so he’ll spend the year studying abroad, and handing out easy 40-point ass whoopings, before planning to return next season. He still has the ability to score 15 points off the bench, but he only gets that feeling in his legs about once every few weeks. China isn’t the greatest place for him if his ultimate goal is to get back to the league, yet we bet McGrady’s status as a former teammate of Yao Ming had some attraction. The fans there will love him, whether he averages 30 points or whether he shows up with a permanent five o’clock shadow and about 16 extra pounds of old man fat. Even Steve Francis is probably still a popular player there, and he hasn’t been relevant since Mischa Barton was … Behind 18 points from DeMar DeRozan, Toronto beat Real Madrid, 102-95. In his first action of the year, DeRozan was super active during the early portions of the second quarter. Within his first 10 minutes of playing time, he had already taken eight shots (making nearly all of them outside of some ugly pull-up jumpers), rebounded two or three misses (with a near put-back dunk that would’ve been CRAZY) and had three or four deflections defensively. We wrote recently that he regressed last season (PER, win shares, efficiency and rebounding rate all dropped from the previous season), and his jump shot surely did, his percentages dropping at almost every shot location as he somehow managed to get up 5.5 shots a game from 16-23 feet despite shooting only 35 percent from there. But he’ll have every opportunity to earn that contract extension this year … Unfortunately, no offense to Landry Fields, the one new Toronto player we wanted to see suit up didn’t. Kyle Lowry will go through therapy and rehab for a strained adductor muscle that he suffered in his left leg last week. As of now, there is no timetable for his return, but as long as long-time Raptor fans don’t suffer through too many nights of Jose Calderon and “Kobe” Lucas, we think he’ll be back before any of them start committing season suicide …John Lucas III and Amir Johnson ran one particuar side pick-n-roll that looked like something out of Amar’e and Nash‘s 2005 playbook. Lucas, passing the ball for once instead of jacking it up, dropped off the bounce pass and Johnson did the rest: reverse cramming a two-handed flush. And one … And D.J. Mbenga apparently owns the most sought-after pinky ring of anyone we’ve heard of since The Wu-Tang Clan. TMZ reports he dropped $16K on the ring to floss, or was supposed to and didn’t, and now a Texas jewelry company called Lemmerman’s is suing him. Too bad D.J. never used that money to buy a game … Keep reading to hear the real reason why Deron Williams didn’t sign with Dallas …
If you thought Chris Paul already had too much weight on his shoulders in Los Angeles, think again. He may control just about every aspect of the Clippers’ season, and definitely holds the keys to how deep they go in the playoffs, but the front office isn’t afraid of involving CP3 in the day-to-day operations or in making personnel decisions. No one seems to think about the fact that Paul could pack up and leave next summer as a free agent. They just want to keep him happy while he’s here. We guess they kind of go hand-in-hand. Just about every offseason move L.A. made came with Paul’s blessings (Lamar Odom, Willie Green, Matt Barnes). He also made sure Chauncey Billups didn’t go on a state-long killing spree after the Clippers claimed the now 36-year-old last summer. Paul’s built himself a nice little squad. They should get him to coach the team, too … After learning Deron Williams was spurning them to stay with the Nets, Mark Cuban said all summer he felt like the best moves were, sometimes, the ones you didn’t make. Dallas spent the last three years relying on plan B, and this always seems like nothing but PR maintenance on Cube’s part. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News tweeted yesterday that D-Will said a major reason he didn’t go with Dallas was because Cuban didn’t show up to their scheduled meeting, instead letting his minions woo one of the summer’s hottest potential acquisitions. Williams wanted to know specific things about the future of the team and of the organization. The guys left to speak for him – Rick Carlisle, Michael Finley and Donnie Nelson – couldn’t answer. At least Cuban had a good excuse. Sort of. He was in Cali filming episodes of the ABC show “Shark Tank.” This whole situation kinda sucks, mainly because Shark Tank is such a dope show and now will get a bad rep in Texas … In other preseason action, Kyrie Irving struggled with his shot (1-for-7) but still made eight freebies and had a sick scoop pass that Tristan Thompson turned into a mammoth facial in Cleveland’s six-point win over Montepaschi Siena, while Golden State edged Utah 83-80 behind David Lee (19 points, 14 rebounds) … And Jerry Stackhouse is apparently a jack-of-all-trades. He is a former All-Star, and a former “Next MJ.” We know he wants to be a coach, and was also pretty good as an in-studio guy for NBA TV. He’s kicked more ass and taken more names than Liam Neeson. And now, he’s also Brooklyn’s appointed team barber … We’re out like $16k pinky rings.
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