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Tracy McGrady Leaves Rockets, Could Request A Trade

It appears we’re inching closer to Tracy McGrady’s final days as a member of the Houston Rockets.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets told McGrady he would not play in the Rockets’ two games last weekend (New Jersey on Saturday, Cleveland on Sunday) and gave him permission to fly home. This comes on the heels of McGrady expressing discontent about his role after the Rockets’ loss to Orlando last Wednesday, when he quipped to reporters about his “cameo” role.

A trade seems to be the next logical step, and indeed, according to CBS Sportsline’s Ken Berger, McGrady’s agent is expected to talk to the Rockets about that possibility. Houston’s GM Daryl Morey continues to deny that the Rockets were showcasing McGrady for a trade, and coach Rick Adelman told Feigen he’s still trying to figure out a way to get McGrady in the teams’ rotation, but the writing seems to be on the wall.

We all should have expected this once McGrady and the team sparred over McGrady’s comeback date. The Rockets are overachieving with a roster of hard-working role players that exhibit great chemistry, and it’s clear they were worried McGrady’s return would disrupt that balance. McGrady, for his part, clearly has personal motivation to come back, since he’s going to be a free agent and may not get another chance to get a long-term contract. Irresistible force, meet unmovable object.

A divorce seems inevitable, and it’s probably best for both parties. Houston should be able to get some value for McGrady’s large expiring contract at some point this season, and McGrady might feel rejuvenated elsewhere, particularly if he goes to a team out of the playoff race that will give him playing time. It’s just a matter of when.