Earlier this week, former superstar Tracy McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA. Most will remember him for an illustrious 15-year career, where he amassed over 18,000 points, made seven consecutive All-Star teams, and helped bridge the gap from the Jordan to Kobe eras. However, at TOK, he’s known for his 24 game stint with the New York Knicks.
The Knicks organization was under an immense amount of pressure heading in to the 2009 trade deadline. If they were going to lure LeBron James to New York in the following offseason, he was going to have to bring a buddy with him, and the only way to do that was for Donnie Walsh to clear enough cap space for another max deal. Enter T-Mac’s expiring contract of nearly $23 million.
Walsh was able to swing a three team deal, shipping Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill off to Houston, Larry Hughes to Sacramento, and receiving Sergio Rodriguez and the oft-injured McGrady. At the time, I thought Rodriguez was a perfect fit for the D’Antoni offense, but by that point, I’d take my own grandmother at the point over Chris Duhon.
New York was so thirsty for competitive basketball that T-Mac’s Knicks debut became one of the most coveted tickets of the Knicks season. I was at that game and couldn’t believe all the hype that fans gave to a washed up shell of Tracy McGrady, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. While the Rockets were hesitant to play him for the fear of busting up his already bothersome knees, the Knicks threw him right in the fire. T-Mac dropped 26 points 4 rebounds and 5 assists, igniting a dormant Madison Square Garden crowd, but in due time would pay for it. For the remainder of the season, he was better known for bad shot selection and sitting out back-to-backs than anything else.
Not many will think of the twilight of T-Mac’s career when his name comes up. Thirteen points in 33 seconds is probably the pinnacle of it, but it brought up horrific memories of Reggie Miller’s eight points in nine seconds to Knicks fans.
You have to think that McGrady’s inability to get out of the first round would’ve made him a perfect fit as a career-long Knickerbocker, but unfortunately he barely got the chance.