Basketball Trade Rumors and Notes for July 16th

1. Tracy McGrady might interest Clippers

2. Pistons to Las Vegas? Team denies interest in any such proposal

3. Keeping Rasheed Wallace in their plans

4. Al Harrington says Mike D’Antoni’s dislike for forward ended any chances of returning to Knicks

5. Webber touts Howard’s influence for Miami Heat
1. Tracy McGrady might interest Clippers

The L.A. Daily News is reporting "A seven-time All-Star apparently has some interest in continuing his career with the Clippers.

And how much reciprocal interest is there in 31-year-old free agent Tracy McGrady, limited by injuries to just 65 games (with Houston and New York) over the past two seasons?

"There is not much to say, other than he has expressed interest in playing for us and we are going to work him out next week," Clippers general manager Neil Olshey said by text message Thursday from Las Vegas, where the Clippers are participating in the NBA Summer League.

The assumption is that any offer of a contract to the 6-foot-8 McGrady would not be forthcoming until the likes of Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, president Andy Roeser and Olshey get an up-close evaluation of McGrady during a workout in the team’s Playa Vista training center.

The Clippers wrap up play Sunday night in Las Vegas against the D-League All-Stars.

The Clippers have 11 players under contract for next season and are looking to add another post player and a wing-type (shooting guard/small forward).

McGrady was one of the best in the sport at the latter position for much of his career, averaging from 26.8 to 21.6points per game over an eight-season stretch (2000-08) with Orlando and Houston. "

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2. Pistons to Las Vegas? Team denies interest in any such proposal

The Detroit News is reporting "Though the Pistons are for sale, the ownership group, including Karen Davidson, "has absolutely nothing to do with any proposal that would move the team to Las Vegas," the team said in a statement Thursday.

The Las Vegas Sun on Wednesday reported that a developer had an NBA team "under contract" to move to Las Vegas if Clark County could secure public funding of a new arena on the Strip.

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3. Keeping Rasheed Wallace in their plans

The Boston Herald is reporting "Celtics management may be under the impression Rasheed Wallace is retiring, and his contract is their prime bait in trading for a quality replacement.

But don’t tell that to the players.

Jermaine O’Neal, in not getting with the program, talked Wednesday of how he would like to see his old Blazers teammate come back to the Celtics.

O’Neal can be forgiven. He’s new to the game plan.

But Paul Pierce had a similar response to the ‘Sheed question yesterday. In the minds of some, apparently, the big guy can still play.

"I’m not sure," the Celtics captain said of whether he believes Wallace is actually going to retire. "I’ve texted him a couple of times. I think it’s still up in the air. I definitely think we could use him, but that’s on Rasheed."

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4. Al Harrington says Mike D’Antoni’s dislike for forward ended any chances of returning to Knicks

The New York Daily News is reporting "As much as Al Harrington wanted to remain with the Knicks, there was always a part of him that believed Mike D’Antoni would never allow that to happen.

"Hell no," Harrington said Wednesday. "He definitely didn’t want me back. That was the most obvious thing of all. We all knew that he didn’t want me to be there."

Harrington’s brief run with the Knicks officially ended when the veteran forward agreed to a five-year, $34 million contract with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. For months, Harrington was holding out hope that Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who drafted Harrington for the Pacers out of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, would find a way to keep him.

But in order for the Knicks to sign Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, the club had to renounce Harrington’s rights. It was a bitter ending for Harrington, who never felt wanted by his head coach.

Their relationship soured early last season when Harrington learned that D’Antoni was trying to trade him during the season. D’Antoni met with Harrington and denied trying to move him, but the damage was already done. There were other issues. Harrington believed he could have been better utilized in the post as opposed to being a perimeter shooter.

"Communication is the key with everything," Harrington added. "I respect people that tell you what it is. Don’t tell me one thing and say something different to somebody else."

Harrington, 30, claims he doesn’t understand why D’Antoni wouldn’t embrace him, saying "I came off the bench and did whatever he asked me to do. I don’t think he liked my game so now I’m moving on.

"When we won a game and I played well he wouldn’t even mention me in his postgame comments. It is what it is. I thank him for the opportunity to play but I don’t think I was a guy that he really liked.""

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5. Webber touts Howard’s influence for Miami Heat

The Former NBA forward Chris Webber said Juwan Howard, his close friend and former college teammate, will have a significant impact on and off the court once he joins the Heat.

Howard, who has played for seven teams over 15 NBA seasons, is expected to sign a contract for the $1.3 million veteran’s minimum in the coming days after committing to the Heat.

Webber and Howard were anchors on the “Fab Five” team at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s that also included former NBA guard Jalen Rose. Although Webber and Rose have moved on to jobs as studio analysts, the ageless Howard pushes through the final stages of long and productive career.

Howard hopes to make one more run at an NBA title by joining a supporting cast built around Miami’s star-studded core of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

“He’s going to work hard in practice every day, he’s going to be a guy that Pat Riley can trust, and a guy that others on that team can lean on,” Webber said of Howard. “He’s the most professional person I ever met. He’ll be great for their chemistry.”

Howard, who established his career as a 6-9 forward who could post up or score facing the basket, would add depth to a power forward rotation to be led by Bosh and Udonis Haslem.

Howard, 37, shot 51 percent from the field and averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 73 games last season for Portland. He averages 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds over his career, which has included stops in Washington, Denver, Dallas, Orlando, Charlotte and Houston."

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