Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Tracy McGrady (1) on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Former Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady announced over the weekend that he will decide soon whether or not he will go back to China to play for the upcoming season, or stay in the states to hop onto an NBA team.
T-Mac posted a message to his 2.9 million Chinese fans on the social media site Weibo.com that he will make an official announcement soon on his website.
McGrady had a great season with the Qingdao DoubleStar, averaging 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, before joining the San Antonio Spurs as insurance for their playoff run.
It would be hard to see T-Mac stay in the NBA for a full season, as he immediately returned to China after the Spurs lost game 7 to the Miami Heat in the Finals to play in the NBA Legends Tour. His last full NBA season was in 2011-’12, where he appeared in 52 games out of 66 in the lock-out shortened season for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 5.3 points and 3 rebounds per game coming off the bench.
Depending on McGrady’s health, his value could be no higher than a back-end reserve in the NBA. With that said, the Rockets should look into how much gas he has left in the tank.
The Rockets shifted from a youth movement last season, to filling the bench with veterans for this season. Marcus Camby was signed to serve as a mentor, Aaron Brooks came back to be a veteran leader and insurance policy, while Francisco Garcia is back as the first wing player off the bench. Reggie Williams and Robert Covington(who has been very impressive this summer) are the only other reserve wing players on the Rockets roster, so giving McGrady a look shouldn’t be out of the question for Daryl Morey and the rest of the front office.
McGrady could serve as a great veteran presence in the locker room for the young Rockets core along with Camby, Brooks, and Garcia. A player who was an elite shooting guard during his prime, T-Mac received his fair share of criticism on and off the court with the Orlando Magic and Rockets, so his experience could definitely help James Harden as he will rise to be a top 3 shooting guard in the NBA this coming season.
I would also much rather have McGrady on the roster than Stephen Jackson, who’s rumored to be interested in joining the Rockets. Jackson’s ploy to join Houston seems to be more a revenge for himself to get back at the Spurs after he was released by them last April. He clashed with head coach Gregg Popovich over his playing time, and if he joins the Rockets, I’m not sure how that would solve his dissatisfaction. Granted, Jackson has been known to be a great and loyal teammate, but he also has had his fair share of legal troubles over the years.
Plus, T-Mac did show that he had some juice left in China: