Basketball News Services
The Indiana Pacers are willing to deal almost anybody except Jermaine O'Neal in an attempt to land presumed disgruntled Magic star Tracy McGrady. According to Indiana's Donnie Walsh, the Magic are having low-key conversations with several clubs expressing potential trade interest. In the meantime, Magic owner Rich DeVos's much-anticipated meeting with McGrady is tomorrow, after which point we will either have a lot more clarity or a lot more secrecy.
There have been rumors of interest in McGrady from Phoenix to Houston to Indiana, but what team wouldn't want the league's two-time scoring champion? Perhaps the only playoff team that is out of the running is the Boston Celtics, who now sport McGrady's former coach Doc Rivers.
And are they, in fact, out of the running? If they could offer Mark Blount in a sign-and-trade along with a take-your-pick of players such as Jiri Welsch, Ricky Davis, and Chucky Atkins, that at least approaches the same type of deal that the Pacers and Suns could put together. The biggest question is would McGrady like to be reunited with Rivers, and would Rivers like to be reunited with McGrady.
A combination of McGrady and Pierce on the wings would remind people of the glory days in Toronto when McGrady and cousin Vince Carter played side-by-side, and what the Magic were hoping to create when they brought Grant Hill into the mix. It would be by far the best two-three duo in the league, and probably the highest-scoring tandem.
Would McGrady like to be the first Celtic in history to earn the scoring title?
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The Associated Press writes inThe Chicago Sun-Times: There's a good chance the Orlando Magic is going to trade Tracy McGrady, and Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh has discussed acquiring McGrady with a Magic executive, Walsh told the Indianapolis Star. ''We could make it work, absolutely,'' Walsh told the Star. ''I have spoken to somebody in their organization, and I sensed there was interest there. ''What they're telling me is, there's a good chance he's going to be traded. So, yeah, a player like that out there, we're definitely going to be interested.''
Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: According to one source, the Magic have asked the Pacers for as many as four players -- Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Jamaal Tinsley and Jonathan Bender -- in exchange for McGrady.To make it fit under salary-cap rules, the Magic would have to send at least one other player, likely Juwan Howard. Walsh told the Indianapolis Star that only star power forward Jermaine O'Neal was untouchable. Sources say the Magic have asked the Rockets to send back Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato, which would give them a new starting backcourt and a big man. Those sources also indicate the Phoenix Suns might be in the mix, talking with Orlando about acquiring Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson and center Jake Voskuhl for McGrady.
Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: Connecticut's Okafor, the presumed top pick, has said he'll work out only for the Orlando Magic, owners of No. 1.Howard said Saturday he'll work out for Orlando and probably the Atlanta Hawks, his hometown team. Howard wants the Los Angeles Clippers to trade the second pick rather than choose him. The Bobcats at No. 4 and the Hawks at No. 6 are looking to trade into the Clippers' spot.
Chris Tomasson ofThe Rocky Mountain News writes: After the Pistons drubbed the Lakers 100-87 in Game 5, Billups partied with teammates in a special room at the Palace until 3 a.m. Billups then went home to join family members and his good friend Tyronn Lue, an Orlando Magic guard who flew in for Game 5, for a few hours of additional revelry.He got about 11/2 hours sleep.
Terry Foster ofThe Detroit Newswrites: Orlando Magic guard Tyronn Lue leaned against the wall waiting for his mentor to turn the corner and say hello.Lue looked like a kid about to give a hero’s welcome, which is refreshing considering Lue is an established NBA player who won championships with the Lakers in 2000 and 2001. His face lit up when he finally saw what he’d been waiting for. Pistons guard Chauncey Billups walked through the tunnel with the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy stuffed underneath his left arm. They embraced and slapped each other on the back. “Man I am really happy for you,” Lue said. “You deserve this.”
Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: The Orlando Magic could feel these tremors. O'Neal could stay in L.A. and try to woo Tracy McGrady, his good friend.On the other side, McGrady could stay in Orlando and try to woo O'Neal, but that's too dreamy a scenario right now. Or a Shaq-Kobe split could inspire McGrady to team elsewhere with another big man -- Tim Duncan? Jermaine O'Neal? Yao Ming? -- to try to emulate Shaq and Kobe.