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NBA Daily Dribbles-Trade Rumors: Tracy McGrady Still a Rocket - Time to Panic?

Pat DeCola@Pat_DeColaCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2010

Countdown to NBA Trade Deadline: Two Days

What I’m Reading

• Umm..so Tracy McGrady is still a Rocket. This is starting to get a little uncomfortable.

• Joe Johnson thinks that the top teams in the East shouldn’t shake things up too much at the deadline.

• We all know about the aforementioned Cavs efforts to land Amar’e, but, in case that doesn’t work out, it appears as if they have a deal worked out with Indiana to acquire Troy Murphy.

• Much to my confusion, Chicago still has plenty of suitors for the troubled Tyrus Thomas, including the deprived Timberwolves.

• So now that Washington has no future, what happens next?

What I Think About It

T-Mac to remain a Rocket?

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The Knicks are really trying to pry him away from Houston (who’d have thought it would be so hard?) but despite their best efforts, they might need to get a third party involved to facilitate a successful deal.

McGrady still has plenty to offer, so it has surprised the heck out of me that he has lasted this long. Although it may have something to do with that $23 million price tag attached to him.

But, at this point, it’s tough to say that McGrady is still “recovering” from knee surgery. He has to be fully healed by now.

Regardless, there are teams looking to snag him. But could it be possible that he might not end up flying out of H-Town? Apparently it is, which is in no way fair to T-Mac.

It isn’t his fault that his stellar play in the mid-2000s warranted a bloated contract that would end up biting him in the rear. He shouldn’t be punished for it by being benched when he is healthy and wants to play.

He’s owed a trade out of common decency. If he doesn’t end up getting dealt, expect things to get ugly between Tracy and the Rockets.

Joe Johnson thinks East’s top should stand-pat

It’s really interesting of Joe Johnson to say this. He realizes that the Cavs might only be shopping for Stoudemire with the assumption that he’s attractive enough to keep LeBron in town past this season.

Of course, even if Cleveland does get Amar’e, he could opt out of his contract, so it might be a moot point.

But I like what JJ said about his team. It shows he has extreme confidence in them and he’s probably leaning towards returning next year and beyond.

In fact, I might even be so bold as to say that Atlanta might be a sleeper pick to come out of the East this season. Barring any major shakeups (i.e. Stoudemire), I think they can compete with the big dogs when it all comes down to it.

They’ve smoked the Celtics all season, and they’re young and athletic enough to outrun Orlando and Cleveland.

Troy Murphy – Cavs backup plan?

To me, this still appears to be the more likely deal for the Cavs.

While they would obviously like the Stoudemire deal to come to fruition, (especially because they would basically give up the same amount in both deals), Murphy would still be a sufficient fit for Cleveland.

But having Amar’e in Cleveland must feel like a dream-like scenario for Cavs fans right now. They have to be salivating profusely at the thought of two of the league’s premier superstars balling together.

But these rumors boil down to one key point: the Cavs are trying to get that power forward to finish the puzzle.

Whether it comes in the form of Stoudemire, Murphy, or even the less likely Antawn Jamison, they don’t feel totally sure of themselves without this missing piece. They have two days to either find the piece, or try to fit the pieces that they already have together.

And as anyone who has ever done a jigsaw puzzle can tell you, when the pieces don’t fit together, the end result isn’t as satisfying.

Tyrus Thomas to Minnesota?

Minnesota definitely has the pieces to put together a deal for Thomas; I’m just not sure why they’d do so. They have a rock-solid core of young, eager to learn guys.

Acquiring Thomas would almost undoubtedly interrupt the (albeit losing) flow that the Wolves have going for them. Apart from a recently snapped four-game winning streak, they aren’t winning games.

But GM David Kahn, while his draft picks have been questionable at best, has compiled a group of young guys that like playing together and is willing to get through this rough stretch because they know they’re going to learn from it.

Will Tyrus Thomas buy into that? Of course not.

The disgruntled Thomas will be dealt before the deadline and Minnesota fans should be bracing themselves for a meltdown if he ends up in the Twin Cities.

Wizards Future

Alright, if they hold onto Jamison, if Josh Howard returns to his All-Star form, and if they use the recently freed up cap room that to sign a B-list free agent over the summer, the Wizards aren’t in as bad shape as they look right now. In fact, they could be in play for a low-seed playoff spot in 2010.

But boy is it hard to see the positives amongst all the muck.

Things aren’t going to be easy as Washington tries to rebuild from scratch. Regardless of what has been said, I still think Jamison will be dealt. I haven’t seen anything about the potential of this match, but I do feel that since Denver is still looking to get bigger, he’d fit in great there now that Marcus Camby is unavailable.

The Wizards are recovering from a devastating turn of events that nobody could have seen coming. It’s just been an abysmal season for a team that believe it or not I had ranked sixth in my preseason East poll.

It’s going to be a long road to recovery.

Sorry, Washington fans.

I know it isn’t much, but at least Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals spring training is just around the bend.

‘Til Wednesday…

PD

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