Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Knicks and Rockets reignite Tracy McGrady trade talk

The Knicks and Rockets have re-opened talks involving Tracy McGrady, according to reports. The original rumored trade would have been a three-way deal including the Wizards but, after trading Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood last weekend, Washington is no longer in the picture.

Now the deal is apparently a two-team deal, where the Knicks would send either Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, one of either Larry Hughes or Al Harrington, and their 2012 first-round pick to Houston in exchange for McGrady, Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook. The teams would also swap 2011 first-round picks.

While giving up Hill, a rookie who has had little time on the court to prove himself, would be a tough decision, it is made easier by the ability to shed Jeffries’ contract for 2010-2011. Doing so would free up an additional $9 million in cap space, allowing the Knicks to offer max contracts to two players this offseason. As you can’t possibly be unaware, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and more will all potentially be up for grabs this summer.

Also, if the Knicks were able to sign Bosh and keep David Lee, there would be less of a need for Hill and much less available court time for him to develop. That certainly is putting all the eggs in one basket but that has been New York’s strategy ever since Donnie Walsh came on board.

There is some thought around the league, though, that the Knicks will wait until after the trade deadline and sign McGrady if he and the Rockets agree to a buyout. With the ultimate goal to free up salary cap space, that seems like a curious move. But the fact of the matter is that Knicks owner James Dolan also wants to sell tickets. With a team that is well below .500 the only way to do that may be to bring in a big name like McGrady.

Donnie Walsh should be pushing hard for this trade, though, for obvious reasons. If any team is willing to take Jared Jeffries’ contract back, it’s almost a no-brainer. As for giving up more draft picks, the Knicks are hoping that pick in 2012 won’t be a very high one anyway, if they are able to sign the free agents they covet.

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