It seems doubtful the Bulls have McGrady in their future


Jul 26

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He came, he jumped, well almost, and Tracy hardly conquered.

Tracy McGrady had his much hyped workout with the Bulls Monday, and indications are Tracy has a long way to go before conquering anything.

It seems unlikely he’ll be with the Bulls this season.

There’s a famous Latin saying, “Veni, Vidi Vici,” supposedly attributed to Julius Caesar about a short war, or ordering a large at Starbucks.

Anyway, McGrady came, the Bulls saw him and sources indicate no one was all that impressed. Obviously, he’d long ago lost his explosiveness. He had little lift and seemed an ordinary player.

The word from inside the Bulls camp was the team has made no commitment to McGrady and still is evaluating its options. The general feeling around the Bulls was McGrady had brought his own media circus, for a change, and his attitude wasn’t exactly that of a guy willing to play a role.

McGrady made some comments to reporters upon leaving the Berto Center Monday which led one friend of his to shake his head and mutter, “He still doesn’t get it.”

“This was a great team, a pretty good team, without adding myself and Carlos Boozer, and some of the key players that they added this offseason,” said McGrady. “I won’t have a problem (with a reserve role), but that’s not what I’m really shooting for. I think if I was the player that I was in a Knicks uniform, I would have no problem coming off the bench. But I’ve worked extremely hard and I’m far from being that player.

“I fit in well,” McGrady told gathered media. “I just bring what I know about the game and my athleticism, my versatility, knowing my smarts for the game, my leadership, just everything I can add to help these guys get over the edge. Without me, without Boozer, they’re a .500 ballclub. And with the guys that they added, if they add me, I think we’ll be 30 points better. I think we’ll be a better defensive team with Thibodeau, who I played with for three years. I had the opportunity back in 2000, but I chose to go home. It’s a full circle. I’m definitely a long ways away from what I used to look like. But I’m very confident what I’m going to be in this coming season. I have worked extremely hard and I’m far from that player (with the Knicks). It’s up to me in training camp to prove I’m a starter.”

I’d, frankly, be shocked if McGrady got the chance.

McGrady’s problem is the same one that still haunts Shaq and Iverson.

It is understandable and many people go through it in their lives without all the attention.

Though few endure it in their 30s, which makes it that much more difficult.

McGrady was one of the elite stars of the NBA, a world wide figure and a leader of his team wherever he played.

Suddenly, with injury in his case, and the loss of skills, he has to accept not being the most important guy or the guy everyone relies upon.

It’s a difficult transition in life—and seen more lately with the recession and job cuts—to go from being depended upon every day to no longer needed.

You want to fight it because it is too tough to accept, and that’s where McGrady seems.

Even his comments seemed surreal, that he and Boozer can change the team. He quickly forgot about Korver, Thomas, Brewer, even Noah and Deng. He’s some teammate already.

Sort of a follow me and Carlos, which should have set off alarm bells for the Bulls.

There’s been a lot of sentiment among fans to at least give McGrady a shot at a minimum, non guaranteed contract and then cut him if it doesn’t work out. So here he is already talking about starting and leading the team.

Sorry, but is he nuts!

It’s why it’s risky to bring in a player like that and not so easy to get rid of him if things go badly. Guys like McGrady tend to go kicking and screaming, which is how things got so bad in Houston that teammates wanted him off the floor. Iverson probably cost Memphis the playoffs with their horrible start they took weeks to recover from even after he was gone. There is a residual effect with a former star who won’t accept his decline, and the Bulls have primarily a young team.

Who’s going to speak up to McGrady? Yeah, maybe Noah, but who needs that to open the season?

It probably was a mistake to even entertain McGrady as it already became something of a media event with erroneous reports on ESPN of an imminent signing, McGrady announcing in tweets his appearance and media gathered waiting his words. It’s not often there’s a press conference for a guy going for a 14th spot on a roster.

But that’s also the issue with veterans like McGrady, Shaq and Iverson, sort of Barry Bonds of basketball.

No matter what they do overshadows their teammates, and, at least in the case of the NBA guys, they love to talk about it.

Steve Nash refused to resign with the Suns until they got rid of Shaq. Even his home town 76ers couldn’t wait to get rid of Iverson. The Rockets eagerly waved goodbye to McGrady, and the roster depleted Knicks seem to want no part of him.

Anyone get the hint here? I believe the Bulls did. I doubt we’ll  be hearing much about McGrady again this season around the Bulls.

The team still has about $3 million remaining under the salary cap and still is on the lookout to add a wing player or shooter. It could be through free agency or a trade, though sources say nothing is imminent and the team may not add anyone until closer to the beginning of training camp.

What do you think? Leave a comment below: