Former Piston T-Mac To Sign With Hawks
PAUL NEWBERRY,AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, whose career was derailed by a series of injuries, will likely sign a one-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because signings can’t be announced until the new NBA labor agreement is ratified.
The 32-year-old McGrady is a seven-time All-Star, but various physical problems have turned the once-dominant player into a part-timer. Last season, he averaged 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 72 games for the Detroit Pistons, his third team in the past two years.
The courting of McGrady likely signals the Hawks don’t expect to re-sign their top player off the bench, Jamal Crawford, who has drawn plenty of interest from around the league.
ESPN first reported McGrady’s deal with the Hawks.
McGrady was one of the league’s top players, averaging more than 20 points a game in eight straight seasons and winning back-to-back scoring titles with the Orlando Magic. He put up a career-best average of 32.1 points in 2002-03.
But McGrady was criticized for never leading a team past the first round of the playoffs, and his production began to decline after he was dealt to the Houston Rockets in 2004.
Persistent back problems began to slow McGrady down. He then needed surgery on both his left shoulder and left knee. He played only 35 games with the Rockets in 2008-09 and just 30 the following season, which was split between Houston and the New York Knicks.
McGrady moved to Detroit last season and at least showed he was capable of making it through a full season, playing his most games since 2004-05. But he’s just a role player these days, no longer capable of dominating a game.
While the Hawks are coming off a third straight year making it to the second round of the playoffs and have the core of their team returning, the loss of Crawford would be a major blow. He was named the NBA’s best sixth man in 2010 and averaged 14.2 points a game last season, giving Atlanta an explosive scorer off the bench.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)