Tracy McGrady is back in the NBA.
A couple days after the Spurs cut loose veteran swingman Stephen Jackson, they have turned around and signed McGrady to a deal and he will join the team for its playoff run, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
McGrady played this season and China and has been cleared by his team there, Woj reports. Because McGrady has not been on an NBA roster this season he is eligible to play for the Spurs in the playoffs.
The 33-year-old seven-time All-Star came off the bench for the Hawks last season (5.3 points a game, shot 45.5 percent from three) and played solidly for them. However, he could not parlay that into another contract this season so he went and played a season in China.
Don’t expect a lot of run for McGrady, he’s not the 2003 model, but he gives San Antonio another practice body and a guy who can give them a few minutes if needed. As a veteran, he should step into the Spurs system without too much trouble and at this point in his career he knows his role. Plus, he’s an underrated passer.
Of course, if you think the Spurs are vulnerable to an upset, this just makes them more so — McGrady’s teams notoriously flame out early in the postseason. No team he has been on the active roster of has ever reached the second round of the postseason.
I’d mock this more, but it’s the Spurs. Every time they make a move like this and we laugh we end up regretting it a few weeks later when the guy plays great and everyone asks why didn’t their team sign this guy.
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.
Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.
And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.
Three thoughts here.
1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.
2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.
3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.