Not much new to report, however:
By Tim Povtak | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted June 26, 2004
The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers are waiting not so patiently now, but the Orlando Magic don't seem to care.
It's their timetable.
Still basking in the glow of making Dwight Howard the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, the Magic showed no signs Friday of finalizing any trade involving star guard Tracy McGrady.
Although a tentative agreement was reached with the Houston Rockets, McGrady will remain in limbo at least through this weekend.
"We're not nearly as far down the line with this as some people have perceived. We're still open-minded," Magic General Manager John Weisbrod said Friday. "As long as we know what our options are, there is no rush, no pressure. If we don't formally resolve the Tracy situation until Aug. 10, it won't adversely affect our team-building."
Rockets owner Les Alexander on Thursday night expressed some frustration with the speed of the trade talks, hoping to have it resolved quickly. The tentative deal involves McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines going to Houston in exchange for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato.
"We'd like to get it done," Alexander told reporters in Houston. "I think we're going to get it done. But who knows, it's not up to me."
Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird told reporters in Indianapolis that his team has continued its pursuit of McGrady but said he believed the Rockets remain the front-runner.
"We're still in discussions, and obviously McGrady is high on our list," Bird told the Indianapolis Star. "It's according to what happens in Houston. If something breaks down there, we won't wait all summer, but we'll listen."
McGrady has asked the Magic to trade him. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season.
The Rockets and Pacers were noticeably quiet on draft night -- keeping their rosters intact, particularly players involved in any proposed deal for McGrady.
Weisbrod spoke with Francis -- the key piece in the Rockets' trade proposal for McGrady -- early Friday. He spoke glowingly of him later in the day. Although Francis led the league in technical fouls this season, Weisbrod said the toughness of the Houston point guard would fit well with the team he envisions in Orlando.
"He's my kind of guy because of the way he plays and the way that he is," Weisbrod said. "We're speaking the same language. He's stubborn, competitive. He wants to win."
One topic of their 20-minute phone conversation Friday was last season when Francis belted much-larger Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns, who was celebrating excessively after dunking over Houston center Yao Ming.
"The night he hit Stoudemire was probably the night I decided he's a guy I could get used to," Weisbrod said. "I don't know him very well yet, but he's a guy we've identified as someone who could help us."
Jeff Fried, Francis' agent, expressed optimism that the common ground found Friday between Weisbrod and Francis was a positive step toward completing a deal with Houston.
Tim Povtak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.