Tracy McGrady recently worked out with Kobe Bryant as a way of testing his fitness for the possibility of an NBA comeback.1 By all accounts, it went alright, but the former superstar is only considering a return to the league if he is feeling up to playing after his Chinese tour.2 Obviously this raises questions of whether McGrady can earn a spot on a team and if he can be a contributor to a title contender.
It’s worth remembering that McGrady is only 35 years old. Among relatively effective players who are older than him are Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Andre Miller, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. So age isn’t a concern as much as ability. Well anyone who watched McGrady play in his prime, especially 2003, knows that the talent is there. And talent may diminish, but it doesn’t disappear.
For the last couple of seasons, I had said that McGrady would have been a good fit for the Bulls. When the team was severely lacking on the offensive end, a dynamic scorer like T-Mac would have been a perfect fit. Now that Chicago has added a slew of offensive threats though, the United Center may not be the best destination for McGrady. But, there are still a few championship-caliber teams where he could be a solid addition.
Yes, every older player who was once a superstar would be a good supporting player for LeBron. If Ray Allen for sure does not go to Cleveland, why not give McGrady a shot? Moving on…
The more I think about the new Heat, the more excited I am to see them play. They’ve got dynamic offensive threats in Wade and Bosh, a former all-star with Luol Deng, and some quality depth with Josh McRoberts and Norris Cole. They’re still going to need more than that to get close to the level of the Cavs and the Bulls, and McGrady could be another step in the right direction. Especially with how Wade is going to be limited for health reasons, another guard/wing would be very welcome. If they could get McGrady for cheap, I could definitely see Pat Riley pursuing this move.
The Grizzlies signed Vince Carter, McGrady’s (distant) cousin, this offseason. At this point in their careers, they will likely be playing a very similar style of game, and with both of them coming off the bench, it may not be something that Chris Wallace puts too much effort into. That being said, the fact he could re-team with Carter makes this a more likely move for a “retired” McGrady than many other teams. Tayshaun Prince is on the decline and there’s a lot about the Memphis backcourt that’s up in the air. Adding depth in a versatile veteran would be a smart move.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers are going to be good next year. Really good. As you’ll see in my NBA predictions later this fall, I have them in the four teams that could potentially win the West. They’ve got star power, proper role players and depth all around. That being said, they’re nowhere near as strong at the 2 and the 3 as they are at the other positions. McGrady could remedy that problem. He’d be on a team with a point guard who makes everyone better, and he’d get to run plays with Aldridge. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
Tracy McGrady back in Houston? Why not? While he wasn’t able to have nearly the success he had hoped for in Rocket red, he did provide some of the most exciting play in that franchise’s history. The Rockets have a solid core set up and should have an outside shot at a top four seed in the East. Their depth chart is a bit stuffed, but I know I’d rather see McGrady playing early second quarter minutes against the Mavericks than Nick Johnson.
Plus, you know, 13 points in 33 seconds: