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Francis/McGrady trade finally happens

And so it goes.

The Rockets’ long pursuit of NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady was completed today with a seven-player trade that will send McGrady to the Rockets and Steve Francis to the Magic, sources close to the talks said this afternoon.

The NBA had received the contracts of the players involved and the conference call approving the deal was complete, sources said.

Official announcement of the trade is not expected until Wednesday. Officials from both teams declined comment.

The Rockets will acquire McGrady, veteran power forward Juwan Howard and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines with the Rockets sending their starting backcourt of the past four seasons, Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley, and center/forward Kelvin Cato to the Magic.

Francis, Mobley and Cato were in Orlando today to visit with team officials, more than a week after Francis’ agent, Jeff Fried, told his client that the deal was “close.”

After Francis initial trepidation about going to the Magic, 21-61 last season, several conversations between his representative and Magic officials and himself with Magic general manager John Weisbrod had made him much more open to the idea of the trade and apparently moved the Magic to complete the deal.

McGrady led the NBA in scoring the past two seasons, averaging 28 points last season and 32.1 in the 2002-2003 season.

Say this about the Rockets under Les Alexander: They’ve never been afraid to shake things up and take a risk. Look at the players they’ve traded or traded for: Clyde Drexler (midseason, no less), Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, now Steve Francis (himself acquired via trade) and Tracy McGrady. The record has been mixed, but I don’t think any of the moves were reckless or thoughtless at the time. However you slice it, they’ve not been complacent, and I think as a fan you have to appreciate that.

Anyway. So long and best wishes to Francis, Mobley, and Cato. Whatever happens, I’ll still miss them.

UPDATE: Here’s today’s story, plus Mickey Hersokowitz’ goodbye to Stevie Franchise, and a farewell to Cuttino Mobley.

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6 Comments

  1. norbizness says:

    I will find it exceedingly difficult to miss Kelvin Cato and one of the most bloated contracts to a no-tool player (Ostertag still holds the record) ever given.

  2. kevin whited says:

    Agreed. Nobody should miss that contract.

  3. William Hughes says:

    While Houston is losing their starting guards, they are getting two very solid players in return in McGrady and Juwan Howard.

    As far as bloated contracts, go, I think Bryant (Big Doofus) Reeves and Yinka (Dinka Doo) Dare may give Greg Ostertag a battle for least talented player ever.

  4. Can we trade Calvin Murphy for another team’s brodcaster? Or at least their wardrobes?

    How is Calvin going to manage an orange prison jumper with herringbone?

  5. William Hughes says:

    Laurence,

    There’s no need to make a trade for a new broadcaster since Marv Albert is available. His contract with the Knicks was recently terminated when he refused to agree to a clause that would require him to stop being critical of the team or its’ ownership.

    As for wardrobes, Calvin Murphy can’t be as bad as Walt Frazier.

  6. Tek_XX says:

    Rockets will still be the Spurs’ bitch ya’ll

    GO SPURS GO!!!