Tracy McGrady might not know it, but he just let Rick Adelman off the hook by taking off his uniform and going into exile. Adelman now will be stress free knowing he does not have to worry about looking down the bench and locking eyes with a disgruntled player.
I feel sorry for McGrady because I have seen it all too often and, quite frankly, I experienced it myself playing for Larry Brown in Indiana and in Houston with Rudy Tomjanovich. The very thought that a coach does not believe you can help him win breaks your heart and your spirit. McGrady has played basketball in the NBA since he was 18 and has always been considered a major part of his teams. Now he is healthy and without a team.
When this occurs, the agent and close family members should play a vital role in countering the emotions of an unhappy player. If that is the case with McGrady, then they let him down. He should be still in a Rocket Uniform and waiting for the right opportunity for Adelman to use him more frequently. The Rockets are sure to hit a road bump or suffer a key injury and that would have allowed McGrady to showcase his talents for a team that wants him for the right reasons and not just as a one-year rental for salary cap purposes.
I understand why Adelman is refusing to disrupt his rotation for the highest paid player in the NBA and here are those reasons.
1. Quite simple, they are winning. Why create tension and controversy in the locker room for a player who has missed a lot of games?
2. Adelman has always liked ball movement and McGrady is a catch-and-explore player. The Rockets’ strength is their unselfish nature and tough defense. Why rock the boat for one player?
3. McGrady is a health risk, so why change the rotation for a player that might not last the season?
These reasons alone will not allow McGrady to play consistently. Adelman is old school and definitely will not be influenced to do so.
The only option is a trade and now the challenge for the Rockets and McGrady is to locate a team willing to trade for T-Mac the basketball player and not T-Mac the expiring contract.
Unfortunately, the only teams that will take a look want major cap space next year. So if I was Tracy McGrady, I would move back to Chicago and continue to work with Tim Grover and be ready when the trade happens (if it happens). He will eventually become a free agent and will probably suffer the worst contract drop of any athlete in the history of sports.
A $23 million contract could for all intents and purposes drop to a mid-level contract or below. This will test the love of the game for McGrady and only then will teams run for his services next season. This year, the Knicks or Nets are the logical choices and I believe he will end up with either one before the All-Star break.
I hope McGrady realizes his place as the top scorer is probably over, but he could still be a valuable asset if he checks the ego at the door. I hope he does because he deserves a chance to help someone win a championship next year if he is healthy and ready to play a role.