After enduring the summer heat and buzz of whether Tracy McGrady would re-sign with the New York Knicks, it has been confirmed that the veteran is heading to the Detroit Pistons for the 2010-2011 NBA season.
The former Knick guard-forward signed a $1.35 million contract for a one-year deal.
Is this a wise decision? Has McGrady’s health gradually improved during the summer training? I guess we won’t know until he enters Olympia Stadium this coming season.
Many feel it was a smart play being that his seasons are limited and this may be his last chance to play with no injuries.
This February, McGrady came to the Big Apple and, at the time, it seemed like a win-win situation for the Knicks and Houston Rockets. Unfortunately, he’d be faced with another injury (left knee in particular), which resulted in more time on the bench than playing.
This was not the first time a similar situation occurred for T-Mac.
His last season in good health was 2005-2006.
That year he missed 34 games during the with back problems. Two years later, injuries to his elbow and knee caused him to miss 16 games. The 2010 season with the Knicks wasn't any different after he had microfracture surgery.
McGrady averaged just 8.2 points last season, his lowest scoring output since 1997-98 when he was a rookie for the Toronto Raptors. Just two years ago, he averaged 21 points for the eighth time in his career.
Fans of the game are already criticizing the league, saying that he won't be able to accomplish anything in Detroit. Getting the minimum out of the contract doesn't help, either.
However, playing in his condition at his age is a necessary gamble if he wants to stay on the court.
In February McGrady spoke about taking a huge pay cut in order to continue playing, "I've made a lot of money over my career and I could retire right now and I could be fine financially, my kids can be fine when they get older. Money is not an issue for me.”
Since money isn’t the issue, what attracted McGrady to join the Pistons?
Due to their well-established starters, McGrady probably feels he can help offensively. He can play both small forward and shooting guard.
The franchise has a solid roster and just may be the right fit for 31 year-old. His injuries aren’t a burden because it’s a sure bet that McGrady will be regularly attending the Pistons practice facility before training camp. Strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander will help rejuvenate his aging body the way he did when the Pistons added players like Antonio McDyess and Ben Wallace.
Other possible advantages await.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com:
“McGrady agreed without conditions to play behind starters Rip Hamilton and Tayshawn Prince next season, though it’s likely that Detroit will move either Hamilton or Prince before the start of next season. It’s more likely the Pistons will move Prince, who is entering the last year of his contract.”
This may allow more playing time for McGrady and who knows? If he plays well, maybe he’ll receive big minutes during the playoffs.
At his peak, I was a big T-Mac fan so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
But maybe—just maybe—this all turns out for the better.