Word on the street is the Chicago Bulls could be interested in acquiring a certain disgruntled former All-Star out in Texas. The Tracy McGrady saga in Houston has gone from bad to worse last week when the team sent him home in the middle of an Eastern Conference road trip. T-Mac has been at odds with the Rockets ever since he announced he was getting season-ending surgery without telling the team first back in February. Since then, the team has flourished without him and have not welcomed him back now that he’s healthy.
In the six games he’s suited up for the Rockets this season, McGrady has only averaged 7.7 minutes and 3.2 points per game. Things boiled over after coach Rick Adelman told the league’s highest paid player that he would not increase his minutes or role. Yesterday, the Rockets granted McGrady permission to leave the team while they facilitate a trade. Now that both sides have agreed on parting ways, the problem now is: Are there any suitors for an aging former superstar with a $23 million contract?
The good news on taking on McGrady’s enormous contract is that it goes off the books after this season. So far, no championship contending team is interested in his services. The Knicks rumor has been circulating for over a month and the T-Mac to the Pistons rumor has also been making the rounds on the internet. One team that has popped up in the last few days has been the Bulls. Like we’ve seen with the Vinny Del Negro situation, Chicago is going through a tumultuous time as well. Trading for T-Mac actually makes some sense for both sides.
This season, John Salmons has been unable to pick up where he left off after his impressive playoff performance. The Bulls definitely need somebody who can take some of the scoring load off of Derrick Rose. Is T-Mac that guy? Even though he is a few years past his prime, he can probably still score the ball and give you 15-18 points on any given night. He is also extremely motivated right now and he can’t possibly do worse than Salmons, who is shooting under 40 percent from the field.
“Whoever gets me is going to get a hungry player,” McGrady told the media recently. “I don’t care if I go to the moon. It doesn’t matter.”
If this trade would go down, it would probably be McGrady for Salmons and two other players with expiring contracts: Jerome James and Brad Miller. Miller is another player who is having a poor season after a good playoff showing. McGrady would not only free up some salary for the Bulls (Salmon’s is owed $5.8 million next season), but he might actually provide a spark to a team that desperately needs it. Remember, despite having a dismal 12-17 record, the Bulls are in seventh place in the East. If McGrady can be even remotely effective, he can help the Bulls secure one of the last playoff spots in the East. But let’s not get carried away. A lot of people (including myself) speculated that Allen Iverson to the Sixers would make a difference, and obviously that hasn’t been the case so far.
On Houston’s side, they would rid themselves of the distraction and drama of having an unhappy McGrady on the roster. Now they can focus on just basketball. Though he’s been horrible offensively, the Rockets would welcome Salmons’ defense. And with Yao out, it doesn’t hurt to have another big man on the roster like Miller.
Would the Bulls be a good fit for T-Mac?