18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
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7. Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were supposed to be the Rockets' version of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, as both players were among the league's best at their respective positions. McGrady was sent to Houston in 2004, in exchange for Cuttino Mobley, Steve Francis, and Kelvin Cato.

McGrady was coming off of consecutive scoring titles with the Orlando Magic and was just 25-years-old at the time of the trade. However, the Rockets were unable to make a deep postseason run through the first four years of the pairing, as both Yao and McGrady battled through injuries. 

However, the 2008-09 season represented the Rockets' best chance of a championship chase (although McGrady was no longer a superstar), as the Rockets had the fifth seed in the West, with a 53-29 record, as Yao put together an All-NBA season, posting averages of 19.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 54.8 percent from the field.

As for McGrady, he dealt with yet another knee injury that forced him to miss the entirety of the postseason and more than half of the regular season. McGrady announced on his personal website that he would be having season-ending and career-threatening microfracture surgery- a decision that was made without the Rockets' knowledge, as McGrady saw his own personal doctor, rather than the team's doctors.

"My knee hasn’t been right all year, and we can’t seem to get the pain to go away. Microfracture surgery is a serious procedure, but I’m confident that I will be able to return next season with the same strength and explosiveness you are all used to seeing from me. While we’ve come to this conclusion after much deliberation, we truly feel this is best for both me and the Rockets in the long term.”

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander expressed frustration with finding out about McGrady's surgery through the media.

"We’ll make a statement in a day or two. I was caught by surprise that he said something.” 

Rockets coach Rick Adelman was even more frustrated. 

"I found out like everybody else did,” Adelman said. “I think there should be a protocol there. There should be a procedure where we have a chance to sit down and talk about a situation and not (have it) announced in the press. I don’t know why that happened, why he did that. It certainly is not the way it should be handled. I saw what he said in the paper. With everything that’s gone on this year, it certainly is not the way it should have gone down. Certainly, we deserve a little bit better than having it announced in the press and not knowing exactly what went down.”

The Rockets clearly felt betrayed by the manner in which McGrady went around them and announced his looming surgery on his own, in addition to making the decision without their input and/or influence.