NBA Free Agency: Is Tracy McGrady to the LA Lakers a Good Idea?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 17, 2010

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 20:  Tracy McGrady #3 of the New York Knicks gestures against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2010 in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The NBA's free-agency signing period is slowly winding down, and Los Angeles Lakers fans seem to be growing impatient in anticipation of one final move that would put the Lakers over the proverbial top.

Most of the attention has centered around New York Knicks forward Tracy McGrady. Although he would appear attractive on the surface, I have my own reservations concerning McGrady.

Furthermore, do the Lakers even need McGrady?

The franchise made it known early that the main priorities in free agency would be re-signing Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown, and shoring up the point guard position.

Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak reportedly coveted former Clippers' point guard Steve Blake, and the Lakers were successful in signing Blake to a four-year deal early in free agency.

Fisher flirted with the Miami Heat, but that move was likely a bargaining ploy, and as expected, Fisher later signed a similar four-year deal which should ensure his career ends in Los Angeles.

Brown has yet to reach a deal with the Lakers, but any other options are being erased with each passing day, and the most likely scenario would be for Brown to re-sign in the near future.

Throw in rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who were both very impressive in Summer League play, and you have the makings of a pretty good group of Lakers' reserves.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Or so we thought.

When LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, the attitude of the entire league changed. Especially in the eyes of the contenders, who were now forced to strengthen their rosters in order to compete with Miami's super team.

Suddenly, Lakers' fans were in panic mode, and despite management doing exactly what they stated, many felt the Lakers' championship roster needed added insurance, regardless of the obvious upgrades.

So now thoughts have turned to McGrady, but it is still up for debate on whether he is a player who can actually help the Lakers achieve their goal of a three-peat.

During McGrady's prime, he was one of the NBA's best players and one of it's most versatile, but time and various injuries have eroded the physical abilities that once made him special.

McGrady's size and skill placed him in the upper-echelon of NBA players, but even before he was injured, questions about his passion, desire, and will to win were raised.

This is the same McGrady who could never carry his Houston Rockets out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and the fact the Rockets accomplished the feat and more, sans McGrady, only makes it worse.

Of course if the Lakers signed McGrady it's highly unlikely he would be thrust into a leadership position, but has McGrady's health improved to the point where he can be counted on for the duration of a season?

I can't remember the last season McGrady played 82 games, and even though his role would be reduced, why take the chance or spend the money on a player who is habitually injured?

The Lakers already have vested interests in the oft-injured Andrew Bynum, and since he is much more important to the hopes of a three-peat, Bynum deserves all of the attention from Lakers' trainers he can get.

McGrady's presence would also take playing time away from Ebanks and Caracter, and both players have shown they can have an impact if they are given the proper time to develop.

The image of McGrady looks enticing right now, but a young defensive-minded forward like Ebanks who has similar size when compared to McGrady may look better as the Lakers approach midseason.

The team in Miami has given the entire NBA food for thought, but Lakers fans need to be reminded that their team has a championship roster, and despite the odds, they managed to improve.

The Lakers' biggest issues last season were their poor defense from the point guard position and health. The acqusition of Blake and the offseason should cure both ailments.

Los Angeles doesn't need Mcgrady to shore up its roster or improve its chances for a championship because the Lakers have already done that through the draft and free agency.