NBA Rumors: Monta, T-Mac, LaMarcus and more

Monta Ellis is still unhappy with the Warriors. Jonathan Abrams (via Twitter): “Monta Ellis may ask out of the #Warriors too soon, via some1 in his camp. Still bitterness on both sides from the mo-ped fiasco.” I don’t know why Ellis is angry at anyone but himself when it comes to his moped accident. The team invests a ton of money in a guy and he’s out riding around on a moped. Unbelievable.

T-Mac doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone…but himself. Tracy McGrady: “I don’t have to prove to nobody that I still got it.” If NBA contracts weren’t guaranteed, McGrady would have been cut long ago. Even though he’s just 30 years old, T-Mac has missed 109 games over the last four seasons, or 33% of the Rockets’ games. He’s in a contract year, so he’s highly motivated to prove that he’s healthy and ready to contribute. With Yao Ming out for the season, T-Mac’s return may be the most compelling story coming out of Houston.

LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t happy about the lack of a long-term deal. This is a little perplexing. Unless Aldridge’s camp thinks that he’s a max player, I don’t see why it would be difficult to come to a number. I pegged his value at $13-$14 million per season and that seems reasonable for a guy with his skill set.

Stephen Jackson doesn’t think the Warriors are getting better. Jackson: “It feels like we’re not getting better.” Jackson said in late August that he was “looking to leave” the Warriors, and Don Nelson said that the team would move him if the right deal came along.

Andre Miller doesn’t seem too happy in Portland.
It might be the fact that Steve Blake is still the Blazers’ starting point guard, or it might be the tedious media events he was required to attend, but this is a situation to watch.

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How much are the Rockets missing T-Mac?

Tracy McGrady

Here’s a hypothetical I was chewing on even before the news broke that Yao Ming will miss the rest of the playoffs with a broken foot: how badly are the Houston Rockets missing Tracy McGrady in their second round series against the Lakers?

Many people have argued the opposite, saying that it’s only because McGrady is out that the Rockets have made it this far. It’s a compelling argument, one that I was inclined to believe for a time myself. However, when it comes to the team’s current series against L.A., I think the Rockets are missing T-Mac desperately.

The reason is that what the Rockets lack more than anything else right now is offensive firepower: something McGrady provides in no short supply. Defensively, Houston has been excellent the entire postseason – and McGrady is no slouch as a defender himself. If T-Mac was able to stay within the confines of what’s been working for the Rockets offensively (quick point guards Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry getting into the lane and kicking the ball out to open shooters, Houston could have seen a major uptick in their offensive production.

But with Yao out for the playoffs, McGrady is the one player who could have possibly given the Rockets a chance to compete with L.A. With T-Mac, the Rockets could have gone small by playing him at the 2, Artest at the 3 and Shane Battier at the 4, forcing the Lakers to match them by playing Lamar Odom at the 4. Without McGrady, the Rockets will still likely go small, sometimes playing Brooks and Lowry together in the same backcourt, sometimes bringing in Von Wafer, but the impact will not be nearly the same. The lineup may not even be dangerous enough to make L.A. want to go small to match Houston’s personnel.

The real story here, however, is that in discussing Houston’s playoff potential, it is once again a “what if?” hypothetical. As J.A. Adande writes in a column for ESPN.com, Houston has to wonder how much longer it wants to bank on Yao as the centerpiece of its franchise, given his considerable injury history. He and McGrady were a dream combination on paper, but this year, as usual, they have failed to come together on the court.

Blogging the Bloggers: The All-Hoops Edition, sort of

Larry Brown Sports has video of Shaq refusing to help his former teammate, D-Wade, off the floor. Classy.

Sports On A Stick brings us “Tracy McGrady: The Rehab ’09” video game.

SPORTSbyBROOKS has a video of Paul Pierce totally leaving a kid hanging on a high five. Of course, the kid is wearing a LeBron jersey, so Pierce is totally justified. That’ll teach him.

DEADSPIN is bored by videos of high schoolers hitting shots from 90′, but I still think it’s cool.

T-Mac is done for the season

Well, it’s been another one of those years for Tracy McGrady — the guy just can’t stay healthy. Now he says he needs microfracture surgery on the same knee he had scoped in May of 2008.

McGrady had arthroscopic surgery on the knee last May and has been slow to recover. The seven-time All-Star missed much of January trying to get the knee back in shape and had an MRI last week to try to discover why it was still bothering him.

“The last couple of games, I’ve regressed,” McGrady said during halftime of last Wednesday’s game. “I’ve felt pain.”

McGrady’s numbers are down across the board this season. He is the Rockets’ third-leading scorer at 15.6 points per game and is averaging 4.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest. He is shooting a career-worst 39 percent from the field.

Recovery from microfracture surgery can be as short as four months for some patients to eight months or longer depending on the severity of the injury and damage to the surrounding cartilage. If McGrady has the surgery now, he’d have eight months to recover before the start of the 2009-10 season.

The Rockets are currently 5th in the Western Conference playoff race, but are just three games ahead of the Suns, who are sitting in the 9th spot.

Yao says that things are fine with McGrady

Yesterday, we posted a rumor (from “a source close to the situation”) that Yao Ming was tired of Tracy McGrady’s injury issues.

Yao said, however, that a report of locker-room discord to the point that he and Tracy McGrady do not speak and that he wants McGrady off the team are not true.

Responding to an NBA.com story that he and McGrady are not on speaking terms and that he wants McGrady out, Yao said the report is not accurate.

“I’m upset,” he said, “(that) this news is fake.”

That McGrady and Yao still talk, even beyond the conversations necessary as teammates, is not news. They can often be seen conversing on the practice court, in the locker room and on the road.

Well, I’m glad that’s settled.

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