The Rockets might be the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. Despite not having their best player Yao Ming and despite Tracy McGrady not playing either, the Rockets still continue to find ways to win. I have to tip my cap to Rockets G.M. Daryl Morey and Rick Adelman for what they have been able to do. It seems as if every time the Rockets take the court, they are undersized and under-manned, but yet they are still 20-14 and in line for a playoff spot. The biggest story this past week with the Rockets had to do with the future of former All Star Tracy McGrady in Houston. McGrady worked extremely hard this past summer in Chicago to try and recover from micro fracture surgery but because of the way the team has played it has been hard to justify playing him extended minutes when everyone knows it will take him a little bit of time to return to his old form, if he ever can do that. McGrady has not been pleased with his playing time, Rick Adelman told him it wouldn’t increase and because of that he was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the Rockets as they explore trade possibilities.
As of now, McGrady is still a Rocket and I think, while he has some value because of his expiring contract, it will be awfully tough to trade T-Mac and his 23 million dollar contract. Not too many teams are going to line up at the door to trade for a guy who makes 23 million dollars. Not too many teams are going to line up at the door to trade for a player whose best days on the basketball floor are in his past. Not too many people are going to line up to try and trade for a guy who is coming off microfracture surgery and has struggled to stay healthy for the past couple of years. It’s clear that the Rockets want to deal McGrady and it’s clear that T-Mac wants out of Houston. The problem that both of them face is that it’s not clear that anybody actually wants T-Mac.
Daryl Morey joins KILT in Houston with Marc and John to talk about the possibility of trading Tracy McGrady, how active they are in talks, how it got to this point, and whether or not he feels confident with his team moving forward.
On what went into the decision to explore trades for McGrady:
“I don’t think it’s unusual but I can understand why people look at it that way. As far as staring at what coach and I were staring at, we were taking the best approach that we thought was fair to him and the team. I think coach covered it pretty well. Understandably he was looking to play more and I think also understandably coach felt like he couldn’t make any commitment to how much more. He needed to see how he was playing and how the team was playing before he could grow his minutes. That wasn’t something that worked for Tracy in a contract year. When he felt he had to have a hard commitment or otherwise wanted to be moved, I think we got together and we made the decision that it might be best for everybody that we look for trades.”
On Coach Adelman’s decision to just play him seven minutes at a time:
“I guess we don’t know the answer to that. I think coach was obviously willing to put him out there at the times that he felt like he could make sure that we would still give ourselves the best chance to win the game. I think he was committed to that. That coulda meant less than seven or more than seven on a given night depending on the matchup. I do feel like that’s the choice that woulda been made. That really wasn’t how it ended up being working for Tracy.”
On how active they are in their talks:
“It’s pretty active. We went from not really focused on moving him, we were fielding calls to, in fairness to him, we’re now looking more aggressively. It’s been pretty active since we made the decision. I think it’ll heat up now for a week or so as we try and feel out what opportunities might be out there. That said, there’s nothing close right now. We’re gonna be more aggressive. The reality of the league is not much happens before the deadline because everyone just waits everyone out. Some deals get done early and if something makes sense for both sides than we will obviously do it, but I think things are difficult to get done early because teams always try to add a little more, a little more versus just doing a deal that makes sense. It often takes a team a deadline to get the other side to get back to what is a fair deal.”
On whether or not he think the Rockets style can work in the playoffs:
“I think in the playoffs, it’ll be challenging for everyone this year in the West. Very difficult to win. We do believe this style can win in the playoffs. I think Phoenix made it to the conference finals more than one and Sacramento made it to the conference finals more than once. That said, we do need an all star level talent. We do feel like some of the guys on our team can develop into that. That said, if we can acquire it, we’re going to make sure we go out and try to get it. Long way of saying that I think we’re going to do our best make the best decision with the roster we have and were gonna continue to try and upgrade it as well.”
How he feels about the current roster:
“I think right now we don’t have anybody untouchable. I think if a deal helps us and makes the team better overall, I agree with you that those players are great players and we like all the players on our roster, but in my job it would be a mistake to not consider everything. If we can add something…and right now it’s going to be harder to deal because we feel like we are a pretty good team, so to upgrade it’s going to take fairly significant talent coming back this way. If it presents itself we’ll do it. If not we are very comfortable with the players we have.”