T-Mac was on top of the basketball world. He led the league in scoring at 32 ppg and was an offensive power house. Coaches ran defensive plays to keep the ball out of the All-Star's hands. He could not be stopped.
That was 2003.
Tracy McGrady is now a washed-up superstar, wracked by countless injuries, in an ongoing struggle to stay relevant in an ever-changing league. After he was traded to the Knicks this February, he dropped 26 points in his first game. However, he ended the season with micro-fracture surgery.
Once again, Tracy is a free agent. However, he is not as desirable as the last time around. The real challenge for him is to stay healthy and swallow his ego to accept a smaller role. Because he will have to do this to win a championship.
Or at least a single playoff series.
As free agency drags on, McGrady's options are diminishing. It seems like the Knicks aren't interested anymore, the Lakers drafted Devin Ebanks, the Nets really don't care, the Miami Heat have filled their roster with a lot of egos, and the 24 other teams either have a swingman or see him as poison.
That leaves two teams: The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.
Let's start off with the L.A Clippers of Anaheim. They drafted Al-Farouq Aminu and acquired Ryan Gomes, and have Craig Smith. Despite that, they worked out the 31-year-old veteran earlier this week, which made sense because he knows Baron Davis and GM Neil Oshley.
What doesn't make sense is that he is actually considering the Clippers. I know that this is a franchise on the rise, but it's going to take a while for this team to be successful. Also, this is not a franchise known for winning; owner Donald Sterling does not help that cause.
The Clippers would be a good choice if T-Mac were younger and healthier, but he's not.
So how about the Bulls?
They definitely have a spot for McGrady. Most likely not a starting spot, but I'm pretty sure his body isn't in the condition to start. T-Mac wouldn't get all the playing time he's used to, especially in the regular season, but will get productive, meaningful minutes.
The roster on the Bulls isn't too shabby either. In fact, they have one of the best lineups in the league: Rose, Brewer/Korver, Deng, Boozer, and Noah. That's a pretty damn good starting five. They also have defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls are a team he can win on.
McGrady does have one more option. He could retire.
He has stated that if he isn't physically able, he would retire. A good sign is that he has been working out this offseason.
This is still a possibility, but McGrady is very determined to win. He could still have a successful career like Grant Hill, and take a more limited role.
But if he actually retires, Tracy will be remembered as one of the greats.
Where do you think Tracy McGrady will go? Will he retire? Leave your comments below. Like always, your feedback is always appreciated.
Second article in series: Iverson
Third Article: Arenas
Fourth Article: Shaq