Tracy McGrady Could Help the Knicks

Oft-injured forward would be a stopgap

Will Leitch of New York Magazine has penned a thoughtful piece about how the Knicks should approach the next year, which runs from the coming offseason to 2010, when their salary cap space allows them to run roughshod on the NBA's free agent marketplace.

Many of the suggestions are predictable -- don't sign Nate Robinson, draft Stephen Curry -- but Leitch offers an interesting idea regarding Tracy McGrady. The Rockets don't seem to have much use for him any longer, and his contract expires after next season, so Leitch suggests the Knicks try and swing a trade for the veteran guard.

On the surface, it looks like a classic Isiah Thomas move designed to suffocate the team's chances of winning at the behest of an aging player whose star doesn't shine as brightly as it did years ago. He's only played 101 games over the last two seasons, his team played much better once he was out of the lineup and his scoring dipped to 15.6 points per game this season. Throw in a head tattoo and you've got Starbury Part Two.  

That's not to say that it couldn't be a mutually beneficial relationship. The Knicks have to come up with something resembling a team next year, and shouldn't overpay Robinson or David Lee to make it happen. McGrady won't screw up cap space, and, if he's healthy, is an All-Star caliber player on a team that usually plays against them. At 30, he's also got another good contract ahead of him if he proves he can stay healthy so his motivation is obvious.

The rub may be a trade that makes sense for the Rockets, assuming they want to add a player who can help them next season. Some combination of Larry Hughes, Quentin Richardson and the contract of the retired Cuttino Mobley would work financially, but it is very hard to imagine the Rockets, who pride themselves on smart, efficient basketball, taking on the likes of Hughes for anything but economic reasons.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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