NBA Trade Rumors: If True, Tracy McGrady to Knicks a Slam-Dunk for Rockets

Taylor SmithAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 26: Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Wilson Chandler #21 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden January 26, 2009 in New York City. 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 Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks are working out a trade that would send Tracy McGrady, Brian Cook, and Joey Dorsey to New York in exchange for Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, and either Al Harrington or Larry Hughes.

The reports also indicate that the Rockets and Knicks would be swapping first-round draft picks in 2011 as well, with the Knicks also shipping over a draft pick in 2012.

For New York, the incentive to do this deal is clear: it would free up about another $10 million for this summer, giving them even more cash to spend on the crop of high-profile free agents.

It's also been rumored that a few people in the Knicks' organization still believe that T-Mac has something left in the tank, and that the team may even be inclined to re-sign the former scoring champion after this season, should he play well. 

The news that a deal may be close comes as a bit of a shock, because as late as Sunday night, it appeared as though Rockets' GM Daryl Morey would not be able to find a suitable taker for McGrady and his $23 million contract.

Morey has made it quite clear that if he can't get any young talent in return for McGrady, he won't bother trading the former All-Star.

Keeping T-Mac would save the Rockets $23 million for the summer, meaning it obviously wouldn't be of much detriment to keep him on the roster.

This would give them money to spend this summer, in hopes of possibly attracting a top-tier free agent like Joe Johnson or Chris Bosh.

However, Morey has appeared more interested in trading McGrady and getting some solid pieces in return rather than letting him walk and risk getting nothing during free agency.

Now, what would this proposed package do for the Rockets?

In Hill, they'll get a fresh-legged, 22-year-old big man that was selected eighth overall in the '09 draft.

He's played in just 22 games so far this season, averaging four points and three rebounds in a measly 10 minutes per outing.

Hill is 6'10", and while his offensive game lacks polish, he showed in college that he has a nose for the ball and certainly has all the tools to eventually develop into a solid big man.

He's been buried on the bench for Mike D'Antoni this season, and it would be interesting to see what kind of impact he can have if he's able to find minutes should he be dealt to Houston.

A key to this trade for the Knicks is Jared Jeffries.

Jeffries, a 6'11" forward in his seventh year in the league, has a player option in his contract (that he will definitely exercise) for next season worth about $6.9 million.

The Knicks have been desperately trying to deal Jeffries for some time now, and the Rockets will willingly take on his contract if they're able to land Hill along with him.

Jeffries is limited offensively, but has shown this season that he's capable of being one of the league's premier defenders.

His lanky body and quick hands make him a tough matchup for opposing forwards, and he's solid both on the glass and with shot-blocking as well.

Considering the Rockets have essentially no shot-blocking threat with both Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo gone from last season, Jeffries' talents in that department would be welcome.

Hughes ($13.6 million) or Harrington ($10 million) would be included in the deal just to help the Knicks match up with McGrady's massive salary. Both expire after this season, and neither would seem to be a likely candidate to remain in Houston after this season.

There isn't much of a downside for the Rockets here.

They would essentially be pawning off three spare parts in exchange for a former lottery pick, a solid defender, and a possible future lottery pick.

Hill and Jeffries would provide the Rockets with some much-needed size up front, as they would instantly become the two tallest players on the active roster. 

As mentioned previously, the Knicks would be doing this trade to clear even more cap space for this summer, and the Rockets would be doing it in order to cash in on the extremely valuable trade chip that is the contract of McGrady.

Sounds like a win-win.

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