According to Kim Murphy of the Chicago Tribune: “The Bulls are working to finalize a workout for free agent swingman Tracy McGrady for Monday, a league source confirmed. However, the source added that signing McGrady, who is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee in February 2009, ‘is probably a long shot.’ The Bulls long have had a close relationship with McGrady’s agent, Arn Tellem, who is working to find McGrady a home. So some are interpreting the workout as either a favor or merely due diligence.”
ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell doesn’t think the Bulls will move on McGrady. I don’t either.
Look, I get why the idea of McGrady is attractive to Bulls fans. It’s all about the grand “What If” scenario. What if T-Mac has some serious basketball left in the tank? Then signing him would be a steal!
But let’s be honest. Check out his stats from the past few seasons. Please note the downward spiral. Also note all the missed games. Over the past five seasons — from ages 26 through 30, a basketball player’s prime years — McGrady appeared in 249 out of a possible 410 games while struggling with a variety of injuries.
Should the Bulls tie up money in a player whose primary selling point is that he mighthave something left in the tank? We’re not talking about the Tracy McGrady who famously scored 13 points in 35 seconds. We’re talking about a ticking injury time bomb whose physical skills have eroded and who — if nobody signs him this summer — may never play in the NBA again.
Check out management’s battle plan. They signed Boozer because he’s a certified front court scorer. They signed Kyle Korver because he’s a proven high-percentage three-point shooter. And now they’re filling out the roster with guys like Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson because they’re talented, athletic, young, and they came at bargain prices.
It seems like the Bulls are bringing in young guys with short contracts who can be developed or discarded in three years if things don’t work out. This construction plan is about improving today and building for the future.
Tracy McGrady is notthe future. There may be no future for McGrady this season, let alone next season or the season after that. So why would the Bulls spend money on him when they might be able to use that cash to bring in somebody who could be useful today and further developed for the future?
I could be wrong. McGrady might wow everybody during his workout. If he proves that his body is sound and can still play at a high level, then signing him to a short-term, low cost deal would be a no-brainer. But it’s more likely that his knees are creaky and his abilities are too rusty to justify the cap hit, however small it might be.