Alan Hahn's post on New York Knicks | Latest updates on Sulia
On the short but significant impact of Tracy McGrady as a Knick:
It was the end of another season where the team was going nowhere, but there was a belief the franchise was finally on the verge of a long-awaited renaissance. The Knicks acquired Tracy McGrady just before the trade deadline in Feb. 2010 not to be part of that renaissance, but to give them added salary cap flexibility that summer.
The move saved about $8 million in cap space, but it did cost them Jordan Hill, their maligned first round pick from the 2009 draft. Hill wasn't Stephen Curry or Ricky Rubio, which were the team's main targets in that draft, and when he proved to be more of a project, he became expendible.
So with visions of LeBron dancing in their heads, the Knicks had an aging, but still popular former superstar in their uniform. His Garden debut was special, as a sellout crowd roared loudly that night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. McGrady had 26 points, 19 of them in the first half, but the Knicks lost a close and entertaining game, 121-118.
McGrady afterward said the way the Garden cheered for him sent "chills down my spine."
He would play just 25 games as a Knick and average a modest 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 26.1 minutes per game. He was not in great shape, his body was always aching, but he knew why he was there. He was an expiring contract. He was just another pawn in the Knicks attempt to lure LeBron to New York.
But McGrady never believed he would.
"I don't see it happening," he said. "I really don't."
A few months later, he would be proven right.
But McGrady did endorse the idea of a star wanting to play in New York.
"This is New York; every player should want to play here . . . It's everything you want," he said.
It wasn't anything LeBron wanted, but Amar'e Stoudemire took the money and the job and ashortly afterward Carmelo Anthony came, as well.
The Knicks aren't champions yet, but they're a long way from that team that featured McGrady.