In one of the biggest free agency periods in NBA history, Tracy McGrady has mostly gone unnoticed.
A top-tier swingman just a few years ago, McGrady has seen his talents fade as he gets older. After joining the New York Knicks toward the end of last season, he only averaged 9.4 points a game in 24 contests.
McGrady was a superstar when he arrived in Houston, but his Rocket career was defined by injuries and playoff failures. He couldn’t thrive as the go-to man for Houston, and the same could be said about him in Orlando.
With his talents dwindling, however, McGrady wouldn’t be asked to take nearly the same role he was in Houston. Now, he’d most likely be asked to be an effective scorer from the small forward position.
Although his ego will take a hit, McGrady will have to take a pay cut to be a role player for teams looking for help. With Miami scooping up LeBron James, the teams that missed out on James might take a look at T-Mac, although it wouldn’t offer too much solace after missing out on King James.
Here are his top 10 destinations.
McGrady has expressed interest in playing for a contender. The Heat is trying to fill out its roster with remaining free agents. Both could get what they want if McGrady goes to Miami.
Although he’d be used in a very limited role behind Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, McGrady would offer scoring and depth to Miami as a role player.
He’d only see the floor for a limited amount of time, but this could be the chance for T-Mac to get a ring that’s eluded him his entire career.
As the Heat scramble to fill out their roster, McGrady could be a choice.
In Portland, McGrady would play a similar role to what Travis Outlaw did before being traded to the Clippers last season.
Nicolas Batum is a talented, young small forward, but has showed inconsistency and injury proneness in his first seasons with the Blazers.
McGrady would be a scoring threat off the bench to relieve Batum. T-Mac would provide support from the position as Batum continues to develop.
T-Mac could also spell Brandon Roy at shooting guard since he has the athleticism to play both small forward and shooting guard.
His versatility would offer the depth the Trail Blazers desire as they try to join the upper-echelon teams in the West.
After missing terribly in the King James sweepstakes, the Clippers could sign McGrady as consolation.
The Clippers are a young, explosive team and the dynamic McGrady would fit in well with their up-tempo philosophy. With Travis Outlaw gone, McGrady could step in right away as Al-Farouq Aminu develops.
With Baron Davis pushing the ball, McGrady would be given the opportunity to put up points for LA. The lineup would be dangerous offensively, but would lag on the defensive end.
The move makes sense. With a vacancy at swingman unitl Aminu develops, don’t be surprised if McGrady goes to the other team that plays in the Staples Center.
Boston has shown it can use New York’s cast-offs effectively. Look what happened with Nate Robinson.
Similar to Robinson, McGrady would be asked to take a much smaller role on the Boston bench behind Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. With the two superstars aging quickly, however, McGrady could play extended minutes off the bench.
He and Tony Allen could provide the spark that the Celtics’ bench had a knack for showing late in the playoffs. Much like Robinson, McGrady would push the tempo while the Celtics stars got a break.
The Bulls are another team that could knock on McGrady’s door after LeBron spurned them.
Although he wouldn’t start over Luol Deng, McGrady offers a scoring threat off the bench.
As a shooting guard behind Kyle Korver, McGrady has the ability to slash and score. With Korver doing the damage with his long-range shots, the combination could be tough for defenses to compensate for.
McGrady would also work well in an offense with Derrick Rose. With the point guard pushing the ball at a frenetic pace, McGrady would get plenty of scoring chances.
Don’t be surprised if McGrady finishes his career in the place where he made himself a star.
With Vince Carter aging and not being as effective as he used to, McGrady, like he did in Toronto, could spell Carter. The cousins would be a deadly scoring duo for Orlando.
McGrady would also offer a scoring threat off the bench for Michael Pietrus, a guy more known for his defensive ability.
The move could be something that puts the Magic ahead as the top team in the East and even title contenders. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see McGrady take less money to play for his former team.
New Jersey may have signed Travis Outlaw, but Mikhail Prokhorov will need more help than that to turn around the Nets.
McGrady would most likely used more as a shooting guard to support Courtney Lee. The shooting guard could develop into a commendable shooting guard, but McGrady would be a threat right now for a team trying to rebuild quickly.
At small forward, he would offer a similar package to what Outlaw delivers. Both are slashing tweeners that thrive on their athleticism.
Outlaw looked primed for a break out year last season, but injuries derailed his development. If he still can’t find his form in 2010, McGrady could be there to pick up the slack.
McGrady tried to use his stint in New York to show other teams that he could be a top free agent at the end of the year.
That didn’t exactly happen but McGrady proved in his stint that he’s still a viable scorer. With that said, don’t be surprised to see the Knicks ask for him back.
After missing out on LeBron, the Knicks are in need of a person who can put the ball in the basket from small forward and shooting guard. As it stands right now, the Knicks have no one who’s much of a threat from the two-guard position.
McGrady got his feet wet in New York at the end of last season. With no LeBron, McGrady could be coming back for 2010-2011.
LeBron James’ departure leaves a crater-sized hole at small forward for the Cavs.
McGrady could come in and provide a quick-fix at the position while Cleveland figures out what to do with it in the future. Although it’s wrong to compare James and McGrady at this point in their careers, T-Mac’s slashing ability is similar to what James did for the Cavs.
If shifted over to shooting guard, he could be a long, driving threat that the Cavs lack at the position with Delonte West and Anthony Parker. Both are good defenders, but leave much to be desired offensively.
McGrady will never give the Cavaliers the same production that James did, but he would fill a gap as the Cavs try to regain their footing.
This one makes too much sense.
Ron Artest might be one of the top shut-down men in the league, but as we saw in the Finals, he can be a headache offensively.
McGrady is just the opposite. He’s a dazzling scorer who can score all over the court. He’s never been a top defender, however.
T-Mac would give the Lakers the scoring Artest doesn’t. Off the bench, he’d take offensive pressure of Kobe Bryant with his slashing ability.
Much like Ron Artest and Lamar Odom, joining the Lakers would mean a much smaller role for McGrady. After seeing all the success those two have had, however, McGrady would be wise to take a similar position.
The situation is the best for both parties. McGrady would give the scoring that Artest doesn’t, and the Lakers would offer McGrady a prime chance at a title.