Rockets debate Knicks, Bulls offers for T-Mac
Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports
The Houston Rockets continued to hold substantive talks with the New
York Knicks and Chicago Bulls about exiled guard Tracy McGrady(notes),
with sources close to the negotiations saying the Rockets had yet to
finalize their decision.
The Bulls spent late Tuesday gathering information on McGrady, evidence they at least thought they remained in the bidding. Still, some league executives say they think the Rockets ultimately hope to strike a deal with the Knicks and are using the Bulls as leverage to get New York to firm up its offer.
As for McGrady’s wishes?
“I’m ready to play for whoever,” McGrady said in an email Tuesday night.
As Yahoo! Sports first reported on Monday, the framework of the deal between the Rockets and Knicks would have Houston sending McGrady, Brian Cook(notes) and Joey Dorsey(notes) to New York for guard Larry Hughes(notes), Jordan Hill(notes) and Jared Jeffries(notes). The two teams also would swap first-round picks in 2011 and the Knicks would send the Rockets their first-round selection in 2012.
In addition to persuading the Knicks to include Hill, the draft picks also have been haggling points. The Rockets have so far asked a hefty price for taking on the contract of Jeffries, who will make $6.9 million next season. Removing Jeffries – and Hill – from their payroll could allow the Knicks to try to sign two top-tier free agents this summer in a class that includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh(notes).
The Bulls’ package for McGrady includes Tyrus Thomas, Brad Miller and either John Salmons or Kirk Hinrich. Chicago has tried to attach Salmons to packages involving Thomas, which has tempered the demand for him.
The Spurs are still intrigued by Thomas. They’ve had talks about moving Antonio McDyess and the remaining $7.5 million on his contract after this season to open minutes and create flexibility to possibly re-sign Thomas in the summer. Having to also take on Salmons, however, would likely be a deal-breaker. The two teams talked on Tuesday, but Chicago wasn’t in position to make a deal with Thomas until resolving negotiations with the Rockets.