The Bulls are apparently serious about T-Mac…but there are conditions

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein: “The Bulls are prepared to sign Tracy McGrady if he proves to be sufficiently healthy in a workout Monday and can convince the team he is willing to accept a bench role, one source familiar with Chicago’s thinking said Sunday. ‘Nothing is done until it’s done, but I expect the Bulls to sign McGrady later this week,’ the source said.”

McGrady sure has been enthusiastic about the Bulls on his Twitter account, tweeting things like “chicago workout monday…i’m ready!” and “close [to being a Bull] in ’97, close in ’00, and now decade later were close again.. could be fate this time round w/ chi” and “C-H-I-C-A-G-O be there tomorrow… workout monday” and “[the Bulls] are very high on list ralph…roster, organization, fans. bona fide sports town.. flirted w/ idea for yrs.. maybe now its on.”

Maybe now it is. After all, Derrick Rose told’s Nick Friedell that signing McGrady “would be good. I think that if he comes along, he could help our team. A player like him, with his experience and how he plays, I think it would help us. He’s good. He’s a player. If he just gives us half of what he’s got, we’ll be all right. But I know a player like him, he’s going to go out there and give us his all, but he’ll definitely help us if we get him on the team.”

So McGrady wants it, Rose wants it, and the Bulls — assuming the stated conditions are met — apparently want it too.

Is T-Mac healthy? The workout will (hopefully) determine that.

Can come off the bench and be a roleplayer? Well, he’s a career 43 percent shooter (33 from downtown) who has never averaged 20 points without taking 20 shots per game. So that’s a concern. Not many volume shooters have made a successful transition to a part-time, take-your-shots-where-you-can-get-them player.

Assuming he makes the team, will McGrady be the exception.

Possibly. McGrady has size (6’8″) and used to have some hops (the workout will tell whether he has any left). He also has skills other than scoring, as shown by his career per-game averages in rebounds (6.0) and assists (4.7). Of course, those numbers were compiled with a career usage rate of over 30 percent.

The hope, then, would have to be that T-Mac can be efficient while getting spot duty. The optimistic part of me looks to the fact that he led the league in Player Efficiency Rating in 2002-03 while coming in third in 2000-01, 2001-02, and 2003-04. And his career PER of 22.8 ranks 22nd all-time. That puts McGrady ahead of legends like Elgin Baylor, Moses Malone, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler and Rick Barry. It also puts him in front of contemporaries like Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony.

But again, that gaudy PER number was built up while being The Man. And for many years — his best, actually — he was The Man for a pretty bad Orlando Magic team.

I’m not denying there are potential positives — big ones — in signing McGrady. But every positive comes with a question. Maybe two questions. Heck, maybe three questions. But sometimes winning is about taking chances. And if T-Mac really is healthy at long last, maybe he would be a good chance for the Bulls to take.

Or maybe I’m just trying to talk myelf into the idea.


30 Responses to The Bulls are apparently serious about T-Mac…but there are conditions

  1. Neek July 26, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    I really don’t know about TMAC because of all the injuries.But there really no one else if you think about what Eddie House(too small),Flip Murray(days he’s on and off),and D-Leaguers(you really don’t know what your going to get from them you could get a diamond in the rough).So maybe Tmac will workout for the best I Hope.

    Bam! July 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    I hope Deng works on his 3 shot this offseason. If he can become a legitimate scoring threat from 3 land, than it may be OK for Kyle Korver to be a back up, because his shooting would become redundant as a stated if Rose and Deng have improved their jumpers. Also, if Korver becomes a starter, his lack of defense would be a major gap for our starting 5. Anyway, if Korver plays off the bench, than he could free the lane for bench players who don’t have the same shooting touch.

    Anyway, the reason I’m saying this is I, of course want T-Mac to stay healthy, and I’m afraid of him getting injured if he drives frequently. If his main duty is to take mid-range jump shots while Korver throws rocks from the arc and Thomas and friends mostly score off drives, than I think we will have some impressive and nicely varied scoring off the bench without risking the health of T-Mac.

    BadDave July 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Highest paid waterboy ever.


  4. The Rock July 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Nice! Now lets pursue Allen Iverson and Shaq and we’ll be all set for another title run and dynasty!!

  5. Adam J July 26, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I just really need to know what this contract is going to look like before I can make a decision.

    Aaron July 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I see no issues with this. Look at all the Bulls Championships. There was always a solid 6th man to come off the bench and provide scoring.

    91-93 it was BJ Armstrong
    96-98 it was Kukoc

    If McGrady can embrace a 6th man role and be the leader of the second team with CJ, Korver, Gibson and Thomas I see nothing but upside.

  7. Alex D July 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I think if T-mac comes cheap, I don’t necessarily LOVE the idea. If his ego starts to act up and he becomes any sort of distraction PERIOD we need to get rid of him. But again if he is cheap, and healthy. Best case scenario is he is a nice little bench scorer that could help our second and third teams. As of now the only real “scorer” off the bench is Watson, and that doesn’t exactly make me want to say we are going to average 120 points. I don’t think we NEED him really, but I suppose he could help the bench best case.

    Again though, IF he is both healthy and cheap. And I would still want a back-up guard who could play both guard positions. Just saying.

    reggie July 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Lets ink this deal with TMac the bulls already know whats going on with him they just want a personal one on one he is ready to play and he may be one of those players that will suprise many of us not me he has just been hurt if he can stay healthy i know he will make chicago happy and he is a solid hard player on offense and besides Rose he will be the biggest name on the team since scottie left wow long time for a city lie ours to have a big name we need to win Our bulls best get there wt up and there game on strap up the laces and go for it>GO bulls

    LOBOS July 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    T-MAC coming off the bench would be a beautiful thing for the Bulls. You also have to remember last year was his so called comeback year. With another year of rest, rehab and allowing his knee to heal properly T-Mac should be ready.

    When you think about what’s left in free agency, T-MAC is risk, but a proven risk.

    What if T-MAC has gained one of those steps that he’s lost over the summer. What if he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting position.
    Sounds like wishful thinking but I’m highly optimistic about this upcoming season for the Bulls

  10. TexasBearsFan July 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Ok LOBOS, what if he has gained a step back. Or, as is FAR FAR more likely, what if he’s lost *another* step because he’s a year older and coming off yet another injury?

    People willing to defy logic over TMac is just incredible. Are you honestly thinking he can still be superstar? That he can honestly play more than 10-15 minutes a game with his gimpy body? He’s *never* played 82 games in a season in his career. He hasn’t played more than 70 in 4 years. 4 YEARS. He’s played 60 games in the last 2 seasons COMBINED. His PPG have dropped every year since 02-03. His rebounding has been on the decline every year since 01-02. The man has NOTHING LEFT. He’s not going to come out of the woodwork and suddenly start dropping 25 a night again as a starter. Even on the craptacular Knicks last season, he averaged 9 points per game on 26 minutes per night. Hell, Ronnie Brewer put up better numbers in Utah last year, and I don’t remember anyone saying that *he’s* likely to be a superstar.

    Let’s put it this way. If I said the Bulls could sign a 31 year old shooting guard who averaged 9 points per game starting last year and who had missed half the season in 3 out of the last 5 years, what would you say? You’d tell me to fuck off, that’s what you’d tell me. But everyone hear’s the name Tracy McGrady and suddenly their convinced that he’s gonna somehow turn the clock back to 2004 and start dropping MVP-like numbers again. Not gonna happen folks. Not gonna happen.

    We can sign him, he might provide something off the bench. But under no circumstances would I allow TMac and his fragile health to dictate any major part of my strategy for this upcoming season. If he surprises, that’s a nice bonus. But we have to look at the very real, very likely possibility that he’s a superstar who’s past his prime.

    BoppinBob July 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    I see T-Mac as a no lose situation. If he does a Grant Hill and is recovered enough to make an impact great. If not he becomes last seasons Lindsey Hunter, an experienced veteran that can provide prespective during a long season. I am sure that coach Thibs will know how to handle this situation. I see little chance of T-Mac hurting the Bulls and the potential for some if not a lot of upside.

    BadDave July 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    No lose situation? No lose?! Playoffs? You’re talking about playoffs? If you want to crown him, crown him!!

    Seriously – even if the Bulls get him cheap, and he’s not locker room cancer, he shoots 40%. He demonstrably won’t be available for more than 40 games. He’ll disrupt the rhythm of the team.

    Most of all, I highly doubt his ability to be productive with limited minutes and an offense that won’t rely on him by giving him the ball for extended minutes.

    I know he’s all gung-ho for Chicago, but he was positive about Houston, who stayed loyal to him for far longer than they should have. All Houston got in return was Free Taco Disappointment.

    thirdsaint July 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Assuming he agrees to Chicago’s demands and also signs for veteran minimum I say this is a low risk/high reward move. If he doesn’t pan out the Bulls are still fine and can dump him to get another body. If he does work out it’s an added bonus and gives us another scorer. It’s not like the Bulls are signing him to be the #2 or 3 scoring option on the team and to start. I’m all for this if the Bulls stand firm like they are saying they will do and he understands his role. I believe he still has the ability to catch fire for spurts and that will come in handy.

    Savage July 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I agree that it is a low risk move. As long as the front office communicates very clearly that he will be coming off the bench and that they want him to provide veteran leadership for the young team. If T Mac is okay with that type of role then this could actually be beneficial to the team. Although, I think we needed another 3 point shooter there are not many still on the market that are worth signing. T Mac fits the position we need back up SG/SF. Sign him to the veterans minimum for 1 year with team option for the second year and it is such a low risk I think we should do it. An extra scorer off the bench especially in the playoffs is a very important asset to have.

    BoppinBob July 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Hey BadDave, that was Grant Hill’s reputation also. Always injured. Last season he averaged 30.0 minutes per game for 81 games, all starts. In 08/09 Hill played in 82 games and started 67. I do not expect this from T-Mac, I see him as the 4th or 5th guard in the rotation and the 3rd or 4th SF in the rotation. But if he contributes more, great. My only condition is that he be cheat. I also think the Bulls need to sign someone like Louis Amundson to provide backup at both center and PF. I have very little faith that Asik can provide a major contribution this season, he is a project.

  16. The Rock July 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    so in all his signing will be a gamble and all we can do is hope for another FA steal meaning he is fully recovered and can still put up all star numbers and we get him for a minimal amount? or be at least a quality bench player that will be a mentor for the younger guys and give us a quality 20 minutes a game? is it worth the gamble? My only fear is that if he IS healthy he will distort the chemistry our young guys already have and cost us some games. I guess all I can hope for is the best worst case scenario. Either way I support the signing. Just have an asterisk next to his name still….

    BadDave July 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

    Fair enough. We’ll see, I guess. I’m prepared to eat my words if he shines through.

    But I’m man enough to drop my prediction here: KneeMac is no Grant Hill, and will not become Grant Hill.

    See you in February.

    Jack Dunkulous July 26, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    TMac ‘made a comment this afternoon that he thinks he will be starting for the Bulls (if things get worked out) because he is much healthier than last year. He is already turning into MeMac again. This is a bad idea.

    One way I would try this….first sign him to a nonguaranteed contract then put him on the shelf for the first few months of the season. Let him prove he is really healthy and that he has embraced this idea of him being role player. If he can’t handle that…don’t sign him. If he starts causing problems….you cut him. If he isn’t healthy… can him. Or just don’t sign him!!

    Grab K. Bogans or R. Mason and lets lace them up.

    rek July 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    sign him if hes healthy all u people on here will eat yo words trust me if he can give us 60 games and ready for the playoffs the bulls can beat anybody in the east

    inkybreath July 27, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I was all ready to go for the low risk/high reward mentality. Until I read his comments from tonight. I was almost ready to give him some slack, knowing how hard it is for those who have been lauded so highly – to talk about themselves as role players. I know it’s tough. But, it’s another sign of toughness that you can deal with the reality of the moment and be strong enough to accept and play that role.

    And, I agree that the chemistry of this team is very, very important. We have a whole new roster and a new coach and we cannot waste any time on unnecessary dramas. It appears as if he could provide that drama.

    I am shocked by that quote more and more, not that the words themselves are so damning. But, again, we know the deal – why couldn’t he just toe the line and stick to the script? I like when players speak their mind, but this was not that time. When you are a player in his position, you do not audition with your mouth – only your actions.

    It’s weak and I am off the McGrady bandwagon.

  21. Anonymous July 27, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    I like T-Mac comments that he made this afternoon. Every man on the bench should feel like they could start. So if T-Mac is healthy are you saying that he cannot beat out Brewer or Deng?

    MNHChicago July 27, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    I don’t understand all the fuss over McGrady’s health when all athletes are one injury away from being the next Sam Bowie. Yes, he has a history of injuries but so does D-Wade, Bosh, CP3, Kobe, Stoudemire, and Boozer. I believe he’ll be good enough to compete with Deng of all people and he’s older now! Maturity does count in this profession and it sounds as if he’s motivated and confident like all professional athletes should be in this situation.

    MNHChicago July 27, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    In addition, if we can accept Rodman with all his antics then so can we with McGrady. Honestly, I wasn’t a McGrady fan since he dissed the Bulls at first but he did go to a team closer to his hometown. Now, I see him looking for a chance at redemption which may be a good thing for Chicago! He already knows what he has and he believes that the Bulls would benefit in the long run. I say give em a chance to earn a spot instead of just writing him off!!

  24. doit2it July 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Bare in mind that his poor declining numbers over recent years are mostly due (logic suggests) to rushing himself back to the game. In the past couple years you see poor numbers, but keep in mind their context of less minutes and less intense minutes. I take away two things from this that are both positives to signing T-Mac: 1) He is finally healthy, 2) He is a competitor who loves the game. FIRST POSITIVE: His declining numbers correlate to the fact that he has rested A LOT. He missed many games, sure, but that’s a good thing as far as discussing his present health. The minutes he did play weren’t big minutes and thus his numbers weren’t big – the positive – he didn’t carry the team while in New York which means less physical strain in the past several months. Thus, McGrady is likely to be quite healthy for the first time in a long time. SECOND POINT – McGrady has an overlooked competitive spirit and gumption for the game. This along with his experience are a positive for team chemistry (X’s and O’s aside). Becuase of irratinal over-ambition on T-Mac’s (and coaching’s) part in playing when shouldn’t, he reinjured himself in the past and played through injuries too often so that his poor numbers were perfectly understandable. REcently however, he’s taken the needed time to fully (or mostly) recover. T-Mac in Chi-Town: a huge +

  25. doit2it July 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    That said, the health concerns should be far mitigated from those of last season. T-mac is surely healthy enough by now to have consistent availibility as a 6th man. (Now with the health concern out of the way,) As far as X’s and O’s go, Chicago’s bench needs a reliable 2 gaurd. If McGrady can come at a reasonable price, it’s a no-brainer. Bulls won’t win without some bench offense.

  26. The Rock July 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    To be honest I am not crazy about how he worded saying ‘without him or Boozer, this team would be a .500 team’…dude without him the Bulls are already solid and were building their foundation without TMAC in the equation. I support signing him and having him prove himself to that starting spot in training camp and pre season. My only concern is that he will be a cancer to the chemistry the young Bulls already have.

    inkybreath July 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    To be clear, I don’t McGrady is such a negative guy or anything like that … it is just that his needs and what he is trying to prove can in and of itself mess with the energy of the team. And, if Rose likes him as much as he has said, that right there could be a negative distraction born of a seeming positive.

    We’re better off without … good that they see that and are acting on it.

    I wish him well. His game was really fun to watch. Hell, wouldn’t it feel good to help turn around the Clippers? He would have more fun, in the end. The Bulls have more of a chance of not needing him as much. He could very easily lose time or a spot, if JJ steps up or something… He may be better off, too …

  28. tunechileochi July 28, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    If the Bulls do sign T-Mac he should have the right to compete for the starting shooting guard position. No disrespect to Brewer but he’s haven’t showed me he’s a automatically a starter in the NBA. They both should compete in training camp for the position. But I believe that McGrady would be a better back court mate than Brewer only because he can relieve the pressure from Rose and his shooting and scoring ability and the way the offseason is shaping up the Bulls are going to need to score the beasketball on a consistent basic to win next year.

  29. Matt July 29, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    Plain and simple: Offer him a non-guaranteed contract, sit back and watch him either thrive or flop, then keep or just cut him. How could they not at least offer a non-guaranteed contract, regardless of his wishes to compete for starting 2 guard? I say go with it, I would love to see him in a Bulls uniform, even if only for a few months!

    andres Lopez August 2, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    If we can not get Rudy Fernandez in trade deal, then we should just get T-Mac already and give him a non-guaranteed 1 year contract. Then settling for Keith Bogans or Roger Mason. I will be very disappointed if we don’t get of Rudy or T-Mac this summer and end up with Bogans or Mason.

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