Off-Season Shakeups Begin....

sensei_hanson

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This could be the first of several mega-trades which include Shaq and possibly Kobe.

Monday, June 21, 2004

ESPN.com news reports

ESPN's Jim Gray reports that the Rockets and Magic have finalized a deal to send Tracy McGrady to Houston -- provided none of the other principal names in the multi-player trade are selected in Tuesday's expansion draft.

The trade also includes Juwan Howard to Houston, while Orlando will get Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato in return. Of those five players, McGrady and Francis are protected and cannot be drafted by the Bobcats. If Charlotte passes on Howard, Mobley and Cato, then the deal is done, Gray reports.

To make the trade work financially under the salary-cap rules, it's believed the Magic also will send Tyronn Lue and Andrew DeClercq to Houston.

Jeff Fried, Francis' agent, told the Houston Chronicle on Monday that Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson told him the trade was not complete but was close.

"I spoke to Carroll and it was not a done deal," Fried told the paper. "It's close. It's subject to a few contingencies."

In the expansion draft (Tuesday, 7 ET), the Bobcats will select 14 players from existing NBA rosters. Few of those players are expected to wind up on Charlotte's opening-night roster. Charlotte could make several side deals with teams to avoid drafting specific players.

McGrady can opt out of his seven-year, $93 million contract after next season, and has said he will exercise that option unless Orlando improves dramatically from the 21-61 record this past season. But the Magic have vowed to trade him, rather than letting the four-time All Star leave without any compensation -- like Shaquille O'Neal did eight years ago when he signed with the Lakers as a free agent.

Since McGrady's declaration, trade rumors involving the NBA's leading scorer have been flying, although the Magic have denied that any trades are on the horizon.

In fact, Orlando general manager John Weisbrod said Saturday that the club is still in contract discussions with McGrady.

"I certainly will not confirm that T-Mac is going to be traded," Weisbrod said. "I'm going to continue to say on T-Mac what I have said for the last month, which is that Arn [Tellem, McGrady's agent] and I are in discussions."

McGrady told the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday that he could not discuss the situation "until it's official ... after the draft."

Added McGrady: "I can't let my tricks out of the bag. I don't have any comment."

Francis, who has a $75 million contract, has told the Rockets that he does not want to be traded to Orlando. The Magic had the NBA's worst record last season while the Rockets made the playoffs. But Gray reports that Francis has no veto power and that the deal does not hinge on his approval.

"I thought we were really building something, something very good in Houston," Francis said. "Obviously that's not the direction they want to go. I still think we could be a very good team.

"I'm not crying. Like I told you before, I know this is a business. Things like that happen. I'm not mad. I'm not upset. This is what they're trying to do. But like I said, I still think we could be something."

Francis wouldn't comment about the possibility of going to the Magic.

Fried told the newspaper that Francis wasn't happy about the prospects of playing for the Magic in a rebuilding situation.

"Steve's preference is to not go to Orlando," Fried said. "Steve's tasted the playoffs. (The Rockets) got a series under their belts. He was looking forward to going further with the same Rockets team but with another year of experience together. This is certainly not his preference. He loves Houston."

Francis has averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds in five seasons with the Rockets.

McGrady led the NBA in scoring the past two seasons, averaging 28 points per game last season.
 

bertrum

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Is T Mac talkin' shite about going to Dallas with O'Neal?

A trade to Houston would put McGrady on the same team with centre Yao Ming, giving the Rockets an inside-outside nucleus few Western Conference teams could match.

In the trade that was finalized Monday, the expansion Bobcats acquired the No. 2 overall pick from the Los Angeles Clippers for the Nos. 4 and 33 picks. Charlotte also agreed to select Clippers centre Predrag Drobnjak in Tuesday's expansion draft.

"We would be pleased starting our basketball team with either one of those young men," Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said of Okafor and Howard, the consensus top two picks in Thursday night's draft. "They represent what we would like to become in terms of character, competitiveness and talent."

Charlotte, which will select at least 14 players in the expansion draft Tuesday, also was close to finalizing a deal with Phoenix to acquire centre Jahidi White, cash and a future first-round draft pick.

That trade would clear salary cap space for the Suns, allowing them to make a run at free agents Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash of Victoria and others.

The Lakers, meanwhile, were exploring their options regarding O'Neal, who issued a trade demand last week after Los Angeles announced that Phil Jackson would not return as head coach.

"Me and the Big Fella are trying to get to Dallas together now," McGrady told Florida Today.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he hadn't spoken to the Lakers yet.

"Will we? Most likely," he said. "But, you know, we also have to ascertain what's real and what's not real."

If the Lakers are serious about trading O'Neal, the Mavericks could be an ideal trading partner.

Dallas has one of the league's most talent-laden rosters, including several players whose combined salaries would be within the league-mandated 15 per cent of O'Neal's $27 million salary for next season.

The hangup would be deciding the players involved. The Lakers would start by asking for Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks would be more willing to package Antoine Walker, Antawn Jamison or Michael Finley.

"I'd be hard-pressed to see us trading Dirk," Cuban said. "Dirk is as close to an untouchable as we'd get."

With former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich interviewing for the Lakers' coaching job, Los Angeles general manager Mitch Kupchak was coy regarding O'Neal.

"I do expect to meet with or speak to Shaquille's representatives in timely fashion. We've had three or four days now for everybody to wind down now, calm down a little bit. I'll get a better feel of where we stand at that time," Kupchak said. "I'm eager to hear what they have to say, and we'll take it from there."

The rumoured deal sending McGrady to Houston could be contingent on whether the Bobcats select any of Orlando's unprotected players in Tuesday's expansion draft.

"It's a very tenuous situation right now," Williams said.

Said Bickerstaff: "We have been in conversations with the Magic, and we're good listeners and good facilitators. We have to make a decision not to do anything that's vindictive, but to do something we can derive some benefit from."

New Jersey reportedly agreed to send the No. 22 pick in Thursday's draft to Portland in exchange for Eddie Gill and cash. Nets vice president Rod Thorn would not be specific about his trade discussions but acknowledged he does not view any player who will be available at No. 22 as being worthy of the three-year contract that first-round draft picks receive.
 

sensei_hanson

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Steve Nash's reign of hair-or in Dallas has come to an abrupt end. Just 24 hours into the NBA free agency period, Nash signed a 5-year, $65mil contract with the team that drafted him in 1996, the Phoenix Suns.

Too bad for Dallas as they lost one of the better PGs in the west with this move. I'm glad for Steve, who got out of Dallas before they could turn him into a pawn in the proposed Shaq deal - he'll be playing alongside two great young talents in Marion and Stoudamire. Hopefully the Suns can also land Ginobili (who they've been courting frequently as well) to make a pretty solid starting lineup.
 

Regs

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Someone at training tonight said that Cuban was talking smack on his website about the money that he offered to Nash... this person said it was a bunch of shite, that Cuban offered WAY less than what was reported.

This person also said that Cuban has turned into a bit of a tightwad and jerk... he cut the Mav's merchandise discount (for family and friends) from 40% to 30% last year. I guess those fines from the league were starting to make a bit of a dent :D

~Regs.
 

filling the net

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Dallas is just setting for something big that will happen soon. They traded Walker away for Jason terry and soon will snag Jason Kidd. He is going either to Dallas or the Lakers.

Lakers look as strong as ever and if they get Kidd......championships will rise again in LA
 

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