[size=18:fe6646bc53]Should Pacers Pursue McGrady?[/size]
OF THE DAY
Q. I understand the need to try to land a player like Tracy McGrady. But doing so at the expense of Indiana's best defensive player? I certainly can not understand why Donnie (Walsh) and Larry (Bird) would be willing to let go of such a gem as Ron (Artest). Not when there are so many other players they could lose and have little effect on the team. Indiana has joined Detroit as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Why are the powers-that-be willing to possibly destroy that to land a superstar offensive threat? (From Jack in Louisville, KY)
A. When a true superstar not only becomes available, but expresses an interest in your team, you have to explore the possibilities. McGrady is a truly great talent, one of the most gifted, complete players in the league. He has every skill set the Pacers need, chief among them the ability to create shots for himself and his teammates. The possibility of an inside-outside combination of Jermaine O’Neal and McGrady is too tempting to ignore. They’re not only premier players, but friends, which means there’d be no threat to team chemistry. But superstars can’t be acquired at your neighborhood dollar store. You have to pay full retail to acquire a player of that magnitude, and most franchises simply aren’t in position to do that. The Pacers are one of the few that could part with two (or possibly three) good players to acquire a player of McGrady’s caliber and still have a strong, complete roster.
This doesn’t mean the trade is going to happen. McGrady has yet to meet with Orlando owner Rich DeVos to declare his intentions, though it’s expected to happen this week. If Orlando can trade the No. 1 pick to acquire some veteran players that could contribute immediately, McGrady might decide to stay with the Magic. If not, and McGrady tells the Magic he’d prefer to be dealt, you can be sure a dozen or more teams will throw offers on the table. Anyone who acquires McGrady is going to need some kind of assurance that he’ll sign a long-term deal next summer, when he can opt out of his contract, otherwise the risk far outweighs the reward.
While some point to the Pistons and their NBA Finals conquest of the Lakers as an example of the value of team-building over superstar acquisition, Detroit also made a strong case for taking a big risk in order to obtain one key missing piece by acquiring Rasheed Wallace. The Pacers can go either way and remain a championship contender. But the front office is doing exactly what it asks of the players. Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird are leaving no stone unturned in trying to find a way to make the team better.