McGrady's Time Is Almost Up

Richard O'NealSenior Analyst IJune 4, 2009

HOUSTON - APRIL 24:  Guard Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets during play against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 24, 2009 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Do you hear that Rockets fans?

That’s the sigh of relief Houstonians are letting out after the Rockets got out of the first round of the playoffs, and proved they belong with the elite in the Western Conference.  The Rockets’ success in the playoffs has all but sealed the fate of injured star Tracy McGrady.

McGrady, who had surgery back in February, was often seen on the Rockets bench in street clothes during their two series’ and could only watch as his teammates won without him. As a team, this is great for the organization, but for McGrady it must certainly spell trouble.

McGrady has taken heavy criticism, especially over the past several years, for never taking a team past a first-round playoff series. Although the Rockets lost to the Lakers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semi-finals, that was seemingly all it will take to doom McGrady’s stay with the team.

This is a mere certainty for a couple of reasons. Not only is McGrady getting older, but he is owed $20 million for each of the next two seasons.  Also, he is showing his frail body can’t hold up to the grind of an 82-game season. The Rockets were actually looking to trade him a couple of months back but found no takers.

As the NBA playoffs draw to a close, the Rockets have proven they no longer need McGrady to get out of the first round, and by pushing the Lakers to the brink of elimination, they just about proved they don’t need him to win it all.