By Chris Sheridan
In case you missed it, Tracy McGrady is no longer with the Houston Rockets.
Physically, that is.
And perhaps only temporarily.
But if you want to start speculating on whether this separation will lead to a divorce, you'll have to wait a couple more days to have anything of substance to go on.
Coach Rick Adelman said McGrady's status will be re-addressed on Monday and/or Tuesday when the Rockets return home from a two-game back-to-back road trip that began with a 98-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night and concludes in Cleveland on Sunday.
Team sources said they expect the meeting(s) will involve Adelman, McGrady, general manager Daryl Morey and perhaps agent Bob Myers to discuss what will be the best way to move forward regarding McGrady, who wants his playing time increased after being limited to 46 total minutes in six games since he made his return from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
McGrady asked Adelman for an increased role, and the coach told him no. That prompted McGrady to leave the team Saturday following their morning shootaround at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
It remains to be seen whether McGrady will ever wear a Rockets uniform again, although one team official said Houston does not have any concrete trade offers on the table that they'd deem acceptable while still allowing them to maintain about $8-9 million in cap space (they could have even more space -- "max space" -- if they renounced several key players) to use in the summer of 2010.
"This is my fourth year being in Houston, and as players, whoever is in uniform that night, that's who we go with," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "But there's been so many injuries, a lot of drama the last couple years, so for me and the guys who have been here, you just get the mentality that all that extracurricular activity and all the injuries, you can't worry about it. And so we've got to go with the guys who performed tonight, and that's the way we've been able to survive."
Does this speed up the timetable on a resolution between McGrady and the Rockets, whose victory Saturday night improved one of the NBA's more surprising records to 18-12?
"I don't know. I think a lot of it has to do with what the front office is thinking. We have a lot of good young players, and when you have a guy like Chase Budinger who's playing really well, and Trevor [Ariza] is developing, it's tough to take minutes away from them. It becomes a numbers game at some point," Battier said. "But Tracy has been nothing but good in the locker room, so I don't think this is a case where he's causing turmoil in the locker room. He's kept his mouth shut, he's worked hard and supported his teammates, and that's the promising part of all this."