Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal seem to be one in the same. Neither can get the role or money (or affirmation?) they so desperately covet, and each will likely face the same choice: play for a team they actually want to play for in a limited role for a small salary, or sign with a non-competitive team to indulge their own inflated senses of self-worth.
It’s up to them, though it’s possible that one of either McGrady or O’Neal’s preferred teams will eventually blink. The Chicago Bulls, for instance, are still an unlikely destination for T-Mac, but they still remain at least kind of open to the idea of signing him. Though to their credit, they still insist on doing everything on their terms. From Marc Stein, writing at TrueHoop:
As of Friday morning, Chicago had not completely ruled out the signing of Tracy McGrady.
Miami’s signing of Eddie House extinguished one of the Bulls’ other prime options and thus helped keep alive the possibility of McGrady scoring the deal from the Bulls that he so badly wants, as chronicled here. Chicago, though, continues to look at other options such as Keith Bogans and Roger Mason.
…If the Bulls ultimately do relent and commit to a T-Mac experiment, since they do need another scoring threat on the perimeter, it’s believed that they will insist on McGrady accepting a non-guaranteed deal for next season so they can let him go at any time without financial hesitation if they deem the experiment to be failing.
For his part, Derrick Rose could take T-Mac or leave him. It really doesn’t seem to matter all that much to him either way. So, we’re not all that far from where we started. Teams aren’t so much courting McGrady as he’s courting them, but Chicago — and Miami, and the other teams on his list — don’t seem to be all that interested.
Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likely” LeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.
Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.
During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.
But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.
NBC Sports Washington:
I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.
The double technical foul called seems about fair.
The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.
That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.
The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.