[size=18:bea7c267d6]McGrady not likely headed to Pacers[/size]
Houston appears to be the front-runner to acquire the Magic star before NBA draft.
By Mark Montieth
June 20, 2004
A trade involving Orlando guard Tracy McGrady appears imminent, but the Indiana Pacers don't appear to be his likeliest destination.
Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Saturday he has not talked with Magic general manager John Weisbrod since early last week, and that no formal offer has been made.
"If there's going to be interest in doing a deal with us, he's going to get back to me," Walsh said of Weisbrod. "He hasn't done that. I don't know where it stands."
McGrady, according to newspaper reports out of Orlando, told Magic owner Rich DeVos on Friday he wants to be traded. Weisbrod said he has been in constant communication with McGrady's agent, Arn Tellem, and indicated he expects to have a deal -- at least orally -- before Thursday's NBA draft.
Orlando, which finished with a league-worst 21-61 record last season, has the No. 1 pick.
McGrady has stated various preferences in recent weeks, but the current consensus within the league is that he's most likely to go to Houston.
Rockets point guard Steve Francis and coach Jeff Van Gundy were at odds last season, and McGrady has stated a desire to play with Houston's Yao Ming.
Any trade involving Francis would likely be made after July 1, when he loses his base-year compensation status that reduces his trade value to half of his $12.3 million salary for next season. The Magic and Rockets, however, could agree on a deal before then.
McGrady also has expressed a desire to play for San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers, and mentioned interest in the Pacers and Detroit when those two teams met in the Eastern Conference finals. Saturday, he told a Florida Today reporter he and Shaquille O'Neal are attempting to work trades that would unite them in Dallas.
"The kid's been all over the board emotionally," Weisbrod told Orlando reporters Saturday. "He's a little inconsistent but that's pretty understandable. Arn's job is to sort of stay close to him and make sure he's representing however (McGrady) feels that day."
McGrady has some control over his future because he can opt out of his contract after next season. The Magic want to trade him now so they don't risk losing him without getting anything in return, as happened with O'Neal in 1996. If the Magic offer a trade that doesn't appeal to him, he could opt out after next season and become a free agent. Any team that trades for him will want assurances that he will re-sign next year.
Tellem also represents the Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal and Reggie Miller.
Various trade packages between the Pacers and Magic have been rumored, although most of them could not be done within NBA rules that require all traded players' salaries to match within 15 percent plus $100,000.
McGrady will be paid $14.5 million next season. The Pacers mentioned most prominently in rumors are Al Harrington ($6.3 million), Jonathan Bender ($6.5 million) and Ron Artest ($6.2 million). Jeff Foster ($4.5 million) and Jamaal Tinsley ($1.5 million) also have been mentioned.
Walsh, however, moved to downplay the rumors.
"[color=darkred:bea7c267d6]It isn't the players mentioned in these accounts," he said. "That's not the correct group of players."[/color]
Harrington appears to be the most likely Pacer to be included in a trade because of his desire for more playing time and a greater role in the offense. He said Saturday he has heard nothing about the possibility of being traded to Orlando, and has in fact cooled on the desire to be traded that he expressed to team president Larry Bird after the Pacers lost to Detroit in the conference finals.