Blog Entry

Knicks-Rockets talk T-Mac; Bulls fade

Posted on: February 16, 2010 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2010 12:35 am
The Knicks' negotiations with the Rockets on a blockbuster deal that would send Tracy McGrady to New York continued to progress early Thursday as a key piece of Houston's leverage faded from the picture: the Chicago Bulls.

While New York and Houston continued negotiating the level of protection the Knicks would place on two first-round picks involved in the discussion, the Bulls were having trouble finding a third team -- preferably one with extra first-round picks to offer -- as a way to sweeten their proposal, sources said.

Though nothing was resolved over the draft pick issue, it appeared that the Rockets and Knicks were confident enough in the framework of their deal that the Bulls dropped out of the discussions, a high-level source involved in the process said. The situation was described Wednesday night as strictly between the Rockets and Knicks, with the key issue remaining how much protection the Knicks would require on two first-round picks involved in the trade.

In a sign of the Bulls' retreat, John Salmons did not play against the Knicks Wednesday night after management told him to stay at the team hotel in New York while they finalized a trade. Later, the Bulls engaged the Bucks in discussions that would send Salmons to Milwaukee for a package of expiring contracts -- perhaps Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson, sources said. That deal would pave the way for the Knicks and Bulls to finally orchestrate their long-discussed swap centered around Al Harrington and Tyrus Thomas.

"It's still in play," a person with knowledge of the talks said.

New York officials reported back to the Rockets earlier Wednesday with their protection parameters, and the Rockets were pushing hard for less protection, two people familiar with the talks said. Sources have indicated that once the Rockets received New York's final determination on pick protection, they would choose between offers from the Knicks and Bulls for McGrady, whose $23 million expiring contract is one of the most coveted assets before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline.

The Knicks, having been burned under previous regimes for giving away draft picks with little or no protection, were seeking to adequately protect a 2011 first-round pick that Houston would have the option of swapping with New York and a 2012 first-round pick that could go to the Rockets based on where it falls in the draft. Before word came Wednesday night of the Bulls' withdrawal from the talks, one person familiar with the negotiations said Houston was "asking for too much," while a second person with a stake in the deal continued to say the Knicks continued to have the leading proposal to extract McGrady.

The Knicks would get a package centered around McGrady in exchange for Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes, Jordan Hill and the draft pick considerations. Shedding Jeffries, owed $6.9 million in 2010-11, comes at a high price -- one that Knicks president Donnie Walsh was having trouble getting comfortable accepting, sources said. The Rockets were asking for so much because they'd face little in the way of negative implications by keeping McGrady and simply letting his contract fall off the books.

Moving Jeffries is crucial to the Knicks' 2010 free agency plan because it would get New York within striking distance of its stated goal of clearing maximum cap space and flexibility heading into the crucial free-agent class that begins July 1. The Rockets, who are getting nothing from McGrady this season, would benefit from an approximately $7 million swing in luxury tax payments -- but that issue was described by one source as "not material" compared to the pick protection.

If the Knicks were successful in shedding Jeffries' $6.9 million contract for next season -- along with Hill, their No. 8 pick in 2009, and Hughes -- they'd be within about $2 million of their elusive goal of clearing space for two max free agents this summer. By completing the McGrady deal as currently constructed, New York would be able to get to the approximately $33 million needed for two straight-up max signings by buying out Eddy Curry's $11.3 million contract for next season. Curry's agent, Leon Rose, also represents the No. 1 potential catch in the 2010 sweepstakes, LeBron James.

Emboldened by the uncertainty surrounding the draft pick issue, the Bulls intensified their research on McGrady late Tuesday night and into Wednesday, a source said. The framework of the Bulls' offer was believed to have included Brad Miller, Thomas, and either Kirk Hinrich or Salmons. If Hinrich were involved, the deal likely would've had another player going to Chicago with McGrady; the Bulls are believed to have wanted either Luis Scola or Carl Landry. The Bulls' interest in one of those players -- combined with their desire to move either Hinrich or Salmons, both owed significant money next season -- appeared to have hurt Chicago's proposal. Hinrich has two years and $17 million remaining, and Salmons is owed $5.8 million next season.

The Knicks completed a minor deal Wednesday, sending Darko Milicic to Minnesota for Brian Cardinal in an exchange of expiring contracts that did not directly impact the McGrady discussions. Walsh told reporters at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night that the NBA had awarded the team cap relief on Cuttino Mobley's $9.5 million, insurance-protected contract -- another step in getting the team's books in order. Also on Wednesday, the Knicks became deeply involved in talks that would send Nate Robinson to Boston as part of a package that would yield 3-point specialist Eddie House.
Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2010 11:25 am
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Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2010 9:26 am

Knicks-Rockets talk T-Mac; Bulls fade

Tracy McGrady is a ball-hogger and has no concept of team-play. Furthermore, he never plays a full season. He had incredible talent and showed it for a few years, but it did not translate into anything worth speaking of in terms of team acheivements.

New York, any young talent especially any draft picks you give up for this man is foolish.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2010 12:43 am

Bulls out of T-Mac mix, down to Knicks-Rockets

T_mac and Houston are finished now. He will be with the Knicks or someone else tomorrow. It is really hard to understand NBA trades anymore. It is all about the money and expiring contracts more so than the value of the players. It was better when things were just more simple. Now it takes a masters degree to have any comprehension of all this. The value of the players or future considerations are secondary in today;s market. Good bye to the good ole days. No wonder Boras is so rich now. It is easy to exploit the owners as long as the guaranteed contracts are still around. Let the players strike, time for changes to be made in the NBA.

Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 7:26 pm

McGrady Irrelevant

I personally think that TMAC is irrelevant.  When I and my other members of my draft league drafted this year, he wasnt selected at all.  He is, at best, a long-shot, to recover even most of his original ability.  I put him firmly in the Allen Iverson class, a great player who has never been a winner and whose skills have eroded over the last few years.  Financially, it makes good sense for the Knicks (of which i am a fan), because of the salary cap.  If they can dump Nate and Jeffries in the same stroke, it will set them up nicely for 2010.  McGrady might be a nice crowd pleaser for a team that will not make the playoffs, but he is not a serious option for any time seriously rebuilding.  If he does rebound from his disastrous fall, he might make a good 6th man, at best.  It would probably be in the best interests of the Knicks to just let him become a free agent at the end of the year.

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2010 7:08 pm
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Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2010 6:07 pm

Knicks, Rockets negotiating picks for McGrady

The potential free agent class is to unpredictable for the Knicks to assume that they will automatically
sign to max guys. That is the main reason that they need to protect their draft picks. They need to have a strong
plan B and giving away draft picks after I.Thomas has already given away a ton could be troublesome. I'm
excited that they are on the verge of getting away from the cap nightmare the Thomas created but let's not get
ahead of ourselves Knick fans.

Since: Feb 4, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2010 5:30 pm

Knicks, Rockets negotiating picks for McGrady

Pal, if they're able to get James, that first-round pick is going to be the 28th to the 30th pick in the draft every year.  So who cares.  They could always buy one from somebody if they really wanted a first-round pick.  Phoenix, for example, makes it an annual sales event.  Buy their first-round pick, get a mattress for half-price.

Since: Feb 4, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2010 5:23 pm

Knicks, Rockets negotiating picks for McGrady

Seriously, are you really that dumb?  It's not about McGrady, it's about the cap space for next season.  The Knicks don't care if he's Tracy McGrady, Tracy Morgan or Dick Tracy.  That expiring $23 million contract is freakin' gold.

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 4:40 pm

Knicks, Rockets negotiating picks for McGrady

cluelessav, while you are correct in stating "THIS IS ALL ABOUT DUMPING SALARY!!!! "  You don't know for a fact that the Knicks wouldn't re-sign T-Mac next year for a reduced salary should McGrady end up showing something in his late season cameo.  They will own his Larry Bird rights and might consider resigning him for less than the max to pair with Lebron, Bosh or Stoudemire if the Knicks are only able to nab one max free-agent.  If they signed Wade then forgetaboutit, but it is possible T-Mac plays for the Knicks in 2010-11


Since: May 20, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2010 1:20 pm

Knicks, Rockets close to McGrady deal (UPDATE)


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