Tracy McGrady Doesn't Believe the Houston Rockets Will Win the Title

aSenior Analyst IApril 20, 2009

HOUSTON - APRIL 19:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets waits to take a foul shot against the Utah Jazz in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center on April 19, 2008 in Houston, Texas.  The Jazz won 93-82.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Can someone remind Tracy McGrady that he is a still a member of the Houston Rockets?

Despite missing 47 games during the regular season and the playoffs, you'd think that McGrady would remember which team was signing his paychecks.

But in a radio interview with Atlanta's 790 The Zone, the Rockets' star didn't seem to have much faith in the franchise that traded for him in 2004, even going as far as leaving them out of his Finals predictions.

When asked who he thought would win the championship, McGrady didn't even hesitate.

"Lakers," said the veteran forward. "It's no knock on Cleveland, I think Cleveland's gonna get there. [But] Cleveland to me is really not that good. If you take what the Celtics did last year, you knew they were either gonna get to the Finals or were gonna win it. You can't really say the same thing about the Cavaliers," he added.

So Tracy McGrady believes the Los Angeles Lakers will win it all.

The same Lakers team that would face Houston in the second round if the Rockets were to hold onto their series lead and advance (and if Sunday's rout was any indication, they'll advance).

So not only does McGrady have no faith in his team to come out of the Western Conference, he is predicting that their potential second round opponent will advance and win it all. What is he thinking?

At this point, I think McGrady realizes his time in Houston is done, and he doesn't care anymore.

The Houston media has been turned against him for well over a year now, with the Houston Chronicle at one point running a ticker counting the number of games he had missed, and the money "wasted" just by having McGrady on the roster. After a flurry of emails, the counter was removed but the point had already been made.

The fans are sick of his injuries, distractions, and the losing that has been associated with McGrady ever since demanding a trade out of Orlando only five years ago.

The front office that has tried and tried to accommodate McGrady, but has grown tired of paying him superstar money for first round exits year in and year out. They now realize the difference between their team when McGrady is on the floor and when he is off.

The Rockets are playing their best basketball of the season with McGrady out of the lineup. Coincidence? I think not.

Their defense is better, the offense is flowing without him dominating the ball, and the distractions are gone. Ball movement is improved and the team is clicking on all cylinders. Sure, the team occasionally misses him at the end of games, but is he worth it?

I think it's safe to say the McGrady Experiment in Houston has failed and is over.

Luckily for the Rockets, his contract expires after next season meaning that this offseason, McGrady will be a $23.2 million expiring contract. This means that teams trying to enter the LeBron Sweepstakes will be drooling over the available cap room that acquiring McGrady would give them for the summer of 2010.

Tracy's recent comments have to be the last straw for the organization. He has lost faith in his team and they have, in turn, given up on him. This offseason should be an interesting one for the Rockets, whose phones will be ringing with potential suitors.

Who knows, maybe the Lakers will call. After all, McGrady is already a firm believer in them.