With endless rumors and up-to-the-minute coverage, today's basketball fans have the privilege of seeing their heroes disintegrate in slow motion. Living legends are torn down before our very eyes, and those who opt not to gracefully fade into the background of the game tend to spend the twilight years of their career in some distant land or another.
Tracy McGrady may not quite be a basketball legend, but to this day he still has an impassioned following and a certain place in NBA lore. He's a tremendously memorable scorer and the owner of one of the greatest highlight sequences the league has ever seen, and while those two things alone were enough to earn T-Mac a place in basketball culture, they do little to secure him a spot in today's NBA.
McGrady's preference is to sign with an NBA club—preferably one that can compete for the championship—and a source said he will wait to see if he is picked up by such a team before committing to play overseas. McGrady could wait up to four weeks before making his decision, the source said.
The Chinese publication, 361 Sport, first reported on Tuesday that McGrady's representatives are in discussions with the club, Qingdao Doublestar, of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The source cautioned, however, that there is no guarantee that the 33-year-old McGrady will decide to play in China this season, even if he does not sign with an NBA team.
There's nothing tragic about an iconic figure seeking employ beyond the best basketball league on the planet, but such moves typically double as reminders of basketball mortality in the most general sense.
McGrady's potential trip overseas is theoretically no different from the plight of any player on the decline, but if anything, this news carries a unique bleakness due to the lingering injuries that derailed his NBA career.
Guys like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury had their chance in the States but failed to adjust to the evolution of their individual roles and the growth of the NBA game. McGrady was denied only by his body's inability to cope with injury. Yao Ming's early retirement was for similar reasons.
Visions of what the Houston Rockets may have accomplished with a healthy Yao and McGrady aren't just enough to drive the Clutch City faithful nuts, but also to invite broader questions of what might have been. Compounding injuries this significant could very well have altered the course of entire seasons, but instead remain as lost opportunities for contention and upset that the Rockets can never get back.
Instead, McGrady now spends his career well beyond the cusp of the league. He waits for an invite for a quality team, but with the player pool wider than ever and McGrady's utility slimming rapidly, what hope does he really have?