NBA AM: McGrady Says Howard Should Stay
McGrady Says Dwight Should Stay: You can’t help but giggle at the irony – in 2004 the Orlando Magic were coming off a 20-win season in which the Tracy McGrady-led Magic were as bad a basketball team as there was in the NBA.
The Magic landed the top overall pick and were weighing their options between collegiate stud Emeka Okafor and unproven high schooler Dwight Howard. McGrady wanted neither of the young big men on his roster; he wanted the Magic to trade the top pick for proven veterans to help get the Magic back into the playoffs.
When the Magic opted to use their draft pick McGrady demanded a trade and ultimately ended up in Houston.
Seven seasons later McGrady has some advice for Dwight Howard, who has demanded his exits from Orlando – the grass is not always greener elsewhere.
Howard has been rumored to be headed to New Jersey in trade, with Magic sources saying a deal was reached during the preseason only to be killed by Magic ownership and Howard pulled from the trade market.
“I can’t see him coming [to New Jersey],” McGrady told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. “If it’s just Dwight and D-Will, he’s better off just staying in Orlando. You want to go to a team that’s championship caliber, and just him and D-Will won’t get it done. There’s got to be other pieces around to make it look sweet.”
“If you think another place looks sweeter, it might not be sweeter than where you are,” McGrady said. “If you’re competing in the playoffs, and you’re a couple pieces away, sometimes it’s better to try and make it work there. In the Dwight situation, though, I think Orlando has made some bad moves.”
“I’ve been watching Orlando play, and I think they let it go too far – to where they can’t compete for a championship,” McGrady said. “Dwight’s going to find a sweeter spot for him next year with him being a free agent, with D-Will being a free agent, and Dallas already having an established star there. … Yup, Dallas… You heard it from me first.”
“D-Will is from Dallas,” McGrady said. “You’ve got Dirk Nowitzki there. They’re going to have [cap space] there. That looks sweet. Dirk. D-Will. And then you get Dwight Howard. That’s it, right there.”
While McGrady dismisses New Jersey as a viable option for Howard, he also believes Chicago would be a good fit, and that if Howard is receiving pressure from Adidas – a long time endorser of McGrady – he should look at the big picture.
“You’re going to have other endorsements because you’re playing in a big-ass city like Chicago, and because you’re [bleeping] Dwight Howard,” McGrady said.
McGrady’s days of leading a team to the playoffs are long gone; he is now a support player for the Atlanta Hawks and can only dream about the what ifs.
“There’s so many stars in this league, and we come and go,” McGrady said. “I’m not what I used to be, but I’m still able to go out and help a team win ballgames.”
“If Grant had been healthy when I was in my prime in Orlando, just think of what we could’ve done when the East was so weak,” he said. “And there’s no doubt in my mind we would’ve played in the Finals in  when Yao and I got hurt in Houston. We had Ron Artest, and [went seven games] with the Lakers. … I wish it would’ve worked out.”
McGrady’s journey should be a cautionary tale for Howard – a different city, franchise or situation doesn’t always mean things improve.
McGrady wanted a veteran team around him and forced his way out of Orlando. Imagine how good the Magic would have been had McGrady stayed in Orlando with Howard?
Surely that’s something Tracy thinks about too.
Trouble Brewing In OKC?: The Oklahoma City Thunder are arguably the best team in the Western Conference. They have the right mix of super star power, veteran leadership, quality coaching and a strong cohesive team environment – or do they?
Last night with about three minutes left in the second quarter, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook started barking at his teammates on the floor and on the bench. When Thunder star Kevin Durant tried to calm Westbrook down, he erupted at Durant, clearly taking offense at what his star had to say. The two players started shouting at each other to the point where both had to be separated on the bench by teammates.
A few moments later, Durant tapped Westbrook on the head coming out of a time out and the two seemed to be fine from there.
Russell ended the day 0-for-13 from the field with six assists.
Durant, the consummate professional, said after the 98-95 win over Memphis that spats happen all the time and that there was no rift between him and Westbrook.
“We’re going to disagree sometimes, like I’ve always been saying,” Durant said to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. “But I’m behind him 110 percent, and he’s the same way with me. And you seen when we came on the floor we clicked and everything started to work from there.”
This is not the first time Westbrook and Durant were clearly not on the same page. Westbrook was benched during last season’s Western Conference Finals in favor of Eric Maynor because of problems facilitating the offense and forcing bad shots.
After the benching Westbrook returned to his role.
Westbrook is negotiating a long-term extension with the Thunder, and despite a dreadful night from the field the Thunder are the only team in the Western Conference sitting at 3-0.
Redd Finds A Home: According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Suns are on the verge of signing veteran guard Michael Redd to a new deal.
Redd along with veteran guard Ime Udoka and rookie Gilbert Brown worked out for the Suns this week, with Redd being the primary player of interest.
According to Coro the Suns had Redd’s knee examined by doctors and could ink the sharper shooter to a deal as soon as today.
Fess Gets A Deal: The Golden State Warriors added another big man to their roster agreeing to a one-year deal with former Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko.
The deal clocks in at just over $1 million ($1.07 million) and gives the Warriors an eighth player 6’9 or taller.
Fess’ signing also gives the Warriors a fourth center on the roster, as he joins Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, rookie Jeremy Tyler.
The Warriors are sitting on $58 million in salary commitments after the signing and will have 15 contracts once the deal is official.
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