Sadly, this is where Tracy McGrady has fallen to:
He wants to go to Chicago, even calling the team “we” in interviews. Then he went in and worked out for them and his shot looked fine but his movement was stiff, his once-formidable game remains a memory. Following that, afterward Bulls officials called the chances of him signing with them “unlikely,” according to ESPN Chicago.
The workout was part of it, but the interview may have been more important. They have a good team core in Chicago, maybe very good if the chemistry is right. Derek Rose at the point and Carlos Boozer at the four, good role players all around and new coach Tom Thibodeau preaching defense. McGrady just needs to come in and accept a role as a bench player scoring from the wing. Can you do that, Tracy?
“I won’t have a problem, but that’s not what I’m really shooting for,” McGrady said. “I think, yeah, if I was the player that I was in a Knicks uniform [at the end of last season], I would have no problem coming off the bench. But I’ve worked extremely hard and I’m far from being that player. Trust me.”
Chicago only has to look back to the disruption Allen Iverson caused last season in Memphis when he was vocal about not wanting to come off the bench to take pause at McGrady. He says he wants to earn it, and McGrady is more professional than Iverson, but what if he feels he should be starting at the three instead of Deng? How much will he talk, what kind of distraction would McGrady be?
Why take the risk? Even though they need wing scoring off the bench.
McGrady, Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal remain big names sitting on the sidelines because their games and bodies now say bench player but their egos won’t let them accept that. And teams, particularly good teams, are deciding it’s not worth the risk.