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NBA Free Agency Rumor: Tracy McGrady Strongly Interested In Lakers?

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NBA Free Agency Rumor: Tracy McGrady Strongly Interested In Lakers?
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Tracy McGrady would like to sign with the 2010 NBA champion Lakers, and has forwarded that sentiment to his agent and close colleagues, according to sources within the Lakers' front office.

Tracy McGrady, a perennial All-Star and two-time NBA Scoring champion, has undergone a significant hit to his reputation after failed stints in Toronto, Orlando, and Houston. To date, McGrady has not gone past the first-round in the NBA playoffs.

After having battled various knee and back injuries in the past couple years, Tracy McGrady has been working himself back into shape under the strenuous regimen of esteemed athletic trainer Tim Grover. Now that he has finished his physical rehabilitation program, McGrady is feeling rejuvenated enough to make a return in the 2010-2011 NBA season.

Despite having limited intentions to use the Mid-Level Exception this summer, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak would consider pulling the trigger on the seven-time All-Star swingman should he accept a paycut at the MLE. Ron Artest, the defensive-minded role player who played a huge factor in this year's Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals, has reached out to McGrady to "end his career as a champion."

The Lakers are willing to explore a potential reunion of former Houston teammates Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady once the July 1 free agency begins.

In Los Angeles, Tracy McGrady would be asked to come off the bench as a role player, similar to what Lakers' forward Lamar Odom has done in the past two seasons. McGrady would provide the Lakers' bench unit with some offensive firepower and stability, and be another deadly weapon in the already loaded Lakers' arsenal.

Most importantly, the acquisition of Tracy McGrady would address the important need for a secondary slasher besides Kobe Bryant. As advocated by Laker great Jerry West, "I think they do need some changes. If you look, they have some free agents that are coming up but the thing that would most concern me is I think they need someone else other than Kobe Bryant getting in the lane."

Moreover, unlike former teams in which he was asked to carry the team throughout the entire season, Tracy McGrady understands that a potential role with the Lakers would not require such an emotionally draining position of leadership. McGrady has tremendous respect for the reigning Finals MVP Kobe Bryant, and has made it known that he would gladly accept a lesser role to play alongside whom he considers the best basketball player in the world.

As expressed by one high-ranked official within the Lakers' management, should Tracy McGrady not return to the New York Knicks next season or spurn retirement, "expect the deal to get done by end of July."

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