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.