Darling You Gotta Let Us Know: Will You Stay or Will You Go?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

It's as if your girlfriend were telling you she's thinking about other guys. There's this rich guy, Phoenix, and this upstart contender, Houston. Of course others want her too: the Spurs and the Lakers. But I'm looking for someone with whom I can really have a good time, she tells you. What about me, you silently scream. What's wrong with me? C'mon Tracy, you're breaking our hearts. You think we want to lose? The one thing worse than losing is the thought of losing you. This torture is killing us. Darling, you gotta let us know: will you stay or will you go?

If you say that you are mine, we'll be here till the end of time.

As fans, we don't have the choice of moving to a different city to try to feel like winners. Is it right that players can pull a Karl Malone or a Gary Payton and just leave? Do soldiers desert their countries to try to fight more winning wars? Are they nothing more than mercenaries, looking to win regardless of who or how they play, or who or what they're fighting for?

If you go to the YMCA with your four best buddies, do you ditch them to play on a team with better players? Do you say to yourself, as Tracy McGrady has said, that he doesn't want to be part of a rebuilding process? That he can't go through all the losing again? Do you say, so long guys, I wanna be a winner, so I'm going to play with these guys against you, and crush you. Ha! Hey, don't leave without me, 'kay?

C'mon, Tracy. It's certainly your right to choose to play wherever you want. If you are posturing for the benefit of new GM John Weisbrod in an attempt to force him to trade for veteran players as opposed to building for the future, fine. That may not be the smartest move, mind you, since veterans can come in all shapes and sizes (see the difference between Juwan Howard Darrell Armstrong), but if it's what you want, you've got every right to lobby for it.

Just remember that you lobbied for it. So don't whine later about not getting your way.

But this kind of tease tease tease is not fair to the fans. You're either wid us or agin us. You can't be both.

If you go there will be trouble, and if you stay it will be double.

So come on and let us know: Will you stay or will you go?

Do you want to auditionto be a dancer for the Orlando Magic?
Or do you want to attendthe Orlando Magic Basketball Camp?

Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinel notes: The Los Angeles Clippers have been calling the Magic to see if they can trade up for Pat Williams. . . . The NBA expansion draft for the Charlotte Bobcats is June 22. The Magic are still trying to come up with eight players worth protecting.


Our own Bill "The Rocket Guy" Ingram writes: This week the All-Star was Tracy McGrady and the team was the Phoenix Suns. Last week it was Tracy McGrady and the San Antonio Spurs. The week before that it was Tracy McGrady and the Denver Nuggets. The one thing we’re not hearing about is the most likely scenario, which is Tracy McGrady and the Orlando Magic.

Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: As a rookie GM coming from an all-for-one hockey environment, Weisbrod can't accept this. His ideology won't allow it. Weisbrod understands he never could build a team in his image as long as McGrady is here. It will always be T-Mac's team, not J-Weis' team. Weisbrod wants to win his way. It's why Weisbrod fired Doc Rivers, a good but headstrong coach. It's why, sources say, the green Weisbrod refuses to use the consultation of the demoted John Gabriel. It's why, quietly, Magic employees work with trepidation now. McGrady is the only guy not in line. He's a star in a stars' league. He does not trust Weisbrod, and Weisbrod does not trust him.Preparing for a potential trade, Weisbrod already has begun a public-relations battle. Because he knows McGrady is so young and honest, Weisbrod is staying quiet and letting McGrady talk. That way McGrady comes off as the guy wanting to bail. Fans lose respect. It softens the backlash. It's an old trick the Magic always use when bracing for controversy. And this is sure to be a firestorm.

Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: The Magic not only overcame lottery history to win the No. 1 pick, but they overcame an omen from their own history. They beat the ghost of Ben Wallace, who got away from the Magic and became a star. First, let me explain that I was among a handful of writers invited by the NBA to witness the super-secret procedure last Wednesday. The league started doing this recently, I guess, to assure you that its lottery was not rigged, although conspiracy theorists still believe something was fishy when the New York Knicks drew Patrick Ewing in the debut of the lottery in 1985. The site of this lottery was the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J. About 2 1/2 hours before the winner was announced, we were taken to the third floor of the building, joining league officials, lawyers, accountants and team brass. We knew the results long before they were shown in a televised game-show version of the lottery. We all were held in the room of flying ping-pong balls until the telecast ended.

Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: If NBA draft night were a holiday, people wouldn't know whether to exchange gifts, hold vigils or host barbecues. There would be no protocol.The unpredictability would make it special. Drafts are weird that way. They are not akin to a Phil Jackson stroll through the playoffs. This is tough stuff, with successes and failures throughout the draft board each year.

Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: Tracy McGrady would rather quickly relocate to another team this summer than slowly rebuild with the Orlando Magic. If the Magic can't significantly improve next season by making deals -- moving their No. 1 pick for veteran players, for example -- McGrady told the Sentinel on Friday that he would "probably have no choice" but to push for a trade in mid-July to a Western Conference team. And, contrary to reports and rumors, it's not the Los Angeles Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs that McGrady is eyeing. McGrady said from his south Orlando home that the Houston Rockets likely would be his first choice should he and the Magic part ways.A league source told the Sentinel that T-Mac also would be receptive to the Indiana Pacers or the Detroit Pistons because they've had trouble scoring in the playoffs.

Ira Winderman ofThe South Florida Sun-Sentinelwrites: The best line of the lottery belonged to Magic figurehead executive Pat Williams, who emerged from the process for the third time with the No. 1 overall pick for Orlando. "This is our World Series," he said, with his previous lottery visits landing Shaquille O'Neal and Hardaway. "These are our Finals in Orlando. We have a trophy case in Orlando with no trophies in it. We have ping-pong balls." Actually, Williams won a fourth prize for the Magic, as well. Not only did the Magic's four-ball combination come out of the hopper first Wednesday, but another combination assigned to the Magic came out second, forcing the league to re-draw.After hosting Cleveland's LeBron James last July, Orlando's summer league again could feature the No. 1 overall pick. Scheduled to join the Magic for summer scrimmages July 6-10 are teams of rookies, free agents and young veterans from the Heat, Celtics, Nets, Cavaliers and Wizards.