There comes a time in a former scoring champ’s career when he no longer has the desire to compete against second-round picks and training camp invitees for his NBA roster spot. For one Tracy McGrady, it appears that this time is now. Being that he’s still just 33 years of age, it seems far too soon… but T-Mac has been a shell of his All-NBA self for years now, and having watched his offensive production fall nearly 20 points over the past five seasons, NBA executives have taken note of the steady decline. Unable to secure a guaranteed contract in the league he was drafted into in ’97, McGrady will sign with Qingdao of the CBA. Via Yahoo…
After 15 often spectacular seasons in the NBA, Tracy McGrady is finalizing agreement on a one-year contract with Qingdao of the Chinese Basketball Association, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
McGrady, 33, will likely complete the deal within the next couple days and leave for China within the next one to two weeks, sources said. McGrady’s long-time partnership with former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming made McGrady a popular player in China, and he’ll be afforded star status there.
McGrady worked out for the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks in the past month, but neither franchise had a roster spot to commit to him. After 15 years in the league, McGrady had career-low numbers in Atlanta a season ago, averaging 5.3 points in 16 minutes per game. McGrady has been slowed with knee problems in recent years.
The Chinese season ends in March, allowing McGrady to return to the United States and possibly sign with an NBA playoff contender.
For Qingdao, T-Mac will be expected to fill the shoes of Lester Hudson, who spent the better part of last winter dueling with JR Smith for the CBA’s scoring crown. Hudson was a volume shooter relied upon to create just about every offensive opportunity for his squad, and it stands to figure that McGrady will be asked to do the exact same thing. In a league that essentially pits one import against another in high-octane, iso-driven scoring battles, it’ll be interesting to see what T-Mac remains capable of.
Ultimately, I’m sure McGrady hopes to impress and latch on with an NBA playoff contender when the Chinese season comes to a close in the spring. Until then, I’ll be keeping you posted.