Saturday, August 7, 2010
Sources: Pistons mulling Tracy McGrady
By Marc Stein
Tracy McGrady might be playing in the Central Division next season, but not with the team he was anticipating.
The Detroit Pistons are seriously weighing whether to sign the two-time scoring champion after McGrady's recent flirtation with the Chicago Bulls, according to sources with knowledge of Detroit's thinking.
DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony reported earlier Saturday that the Pistons have already committed to sign McGrady to a one-year deal at the league's $1.35 million veteran minimum, but one source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Pistons officials were "taking the weekend" to discuss the move.
Another source said Saturday night that no deal has been signed but that the parties are "in discussions."
Nearly two weeks after a high-profile audition with the Bulls at their practice facility, McGrady appeared to have lost all hope of landing with the team he badly wanted to join when Chicago struck an agreement Friday with veteran swingman Keith Bogans.
But the Pistons have unexpectedly emerged as a suitor for McGrady after a quiet summer for Detroit that has been attributed in some league circles to owner Karen Davidson's reluctance to spend given her well-chronicled desire to sell the team.
Bringing in McGrady at such a low cost would thus represent a low-risk, high-reward gamble for the Pistons. The 31-year-old is trying to resurrect his career after playing in just 30 games last season with Houston Rockets and New York Knicks thanks to a slow recovery from microfracture knee surgery.
The Pistons would appear to have little need at shooting guard or small forward -- with Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and the recently re-signed Will Bynum on the roster -- but Detroit personnel chief Joe Dumars has never shied away from reclamation projects and knows his team suffered from a lack of scoring punch last season.
After earning nearly $23 million in 2009-10 and averaging 8.2 points and 3.3 assists, McGrady has worked out this summer with the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago in search of his next team.
Sources with knowledge of the Bulls' thinking have maintained for days that the signing of McGrady was "unlikely" because of fears that the seven-time All-Star would be unwilling to embrace a potentially limited role.
The Bulls have also been chasing Portland's Rudy Fernandez in trade talks in recent days and, according to sources, rate Fernandez as a better fit than McGrady because of his 3-point shooting ability.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.