NBA Trade Rumors Come True: Knicks Trade for Tracy McGrady and Cap Room

Keith SchlosserAnalyst IFebruary 18, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - MAY 02:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets drives on Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at Energy Solutions Arena on May 2, 2008 in Salt Lake 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 Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

A trade months in the making finally became official as the NBA neared its trading deadline, but not without a couple of speed bumps.

The Knicks acquired Tracy McGrady Thursday in a three-team trade with the Kings and Rockets.

Late Wednesday night many sources reported the Rockets had agreed to trade McGrady to the Kings in exchange for Kevin Martin. However, the Knicks were still able to prevail in their quest to acquire the former All-Star with a little help from McGrady’s agent, Arn Tellem, who declared potential “fireworks” should T-Mac have been traded to the Kings.

Tellem represents several Kings players, and one can only bet Kings brass didn’t care to find out what he meant by “fireworks.”

Also coming to New York will be Sergio Rodriguez via Sacramento. Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill will be heading to Houston with Martin, while Larry Hughes, Carl Landry, and Joey Dorsey will join Sacramento.

The Rockets will also receive protected draft picks from the Knicks.

In acquiring McGrady, not only do the Knicks receive a major scorer and gifted passer, but, by trading Jeffries, they will be able to offer two free agents maximum contracts this summer.

As McGrady’s opportunities in New York have been discussed for days now (bring the competitive spirit back to the Garden, and in return rejuvenate his career as he looks for a new contract of his own this summer), let’s take a look at where the Knicks stand going forward.

Essentially, the team has gone all in. In an “all or nothing” hope, the Knicks surrendered some of their youth (present and future) for a chance at revitalizing the entire franchise this summer via free agency.

Many around the league have considered this a trade of Jordan Hill and a future draft selection for a chance at two maximum-contract All-Stars.

The key to the deal is the Knicks being able to convert that coveted cap room into two highly coveted players.

While this move could pay major dividends, it could also be costly for the Knicks.

In order to be happy with this move, fans need to start coping with the fact that LeBron James may not sign with the Knicks.

That’s right. I’ve said it before, and now I’m saying it again.

This cap clearing move was not a "LeBron or bust" move. It was made to give Donnie Walsh the best opportunity to improve the team this summer.

The fact of the matter is, with the Cavs’ recent acquisition of Antawn Jamison, James may not want to leave his hometown. Instead, the Knicks could be welcoming Joe Johnson along with his former teammate Amare Stoudemire, or even Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade also remains an outside possibility.

If fans are hanging on to the hope that James will be a Knick as the only option, they may end up sorely disappointed come this summer.

While James may be the best of options, he is certainly not the only one. Walsh has recognized this and is prepared with “Plan B” options.

As far as which two major “Plan B” free agents the Knicks are able to sign, it is going to be a win-win situation. Frankly, any of those signings would give the Knicks a lot more hope than the team currently has.

If Walsh is able to secure James, then the ground he walks on should be worshipped by Knicks fans. He will have accomplished the seemingly impossible, luring James away from a championship contender to start over to build something special in New York.

The Cavs should be content that Danny Ferry has done everything he can thus far to show King James he means business, and by business, I mean winning a championship.

If I were LeBron James, I wouldn’t want to leave Cleveland.

Nevertheless, if Walsh is able to lure any two of the aforementioned free agents, he will still have done his job quite well.

While there is no guarantee James will come to be king in New York, with $30 million in cap space this summer, signing two high-profile free agents is a strong possibility for the Knicks.

Walsh just needs to make it happen.