As part of a blockbuster seven-player deal, the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic have traded two-time league scoring champion Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets.
Tracy McGrady had made it clear he wanted out of Orlando, even though he had been building a new home there and his family wanted him to stay with the Magic.
But the star 2.03-meter guard did not get along with Orlando's new general manager, John Weisbrod, and felt he was not wanted. So he asked to be traded. He got his wish.
Orlando sent McGrady, forward Juwan Howard, and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Houston Rockets. In return, Orlando gets all-star guard Steve Francis, guard Cuttino Mobley and forward Kelvin Cato.
The 25-year-old McGrady spent four seasons with the Magic after spending his first three years in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors. "The Magic is a great organization. I wouldn't regret anything, without a doubt, because in those four years I've grown into such a player that I never thought I'd become in this league and they helped me grow," he said.
This past season McGrady averaged 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. In Houston, he will be joining star Chinese center Yao Ming to form what could become one of basketball's most impressive scoring tandems.
Steve Francis, the key player Houston agreed to trade, is a three-time all-star who averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season. Tracy McGrady believes the trade is a good deal for Orlando and Houston. "I think both teams are going to benefit from this trade. I got what I wanted out of the deal and Orlando got three solid players. Steve Francis is definitely going to bring a winning attitude to Orlando. He's going to play hard. Cuttino Mobley is going to do the same," he said.
The deal had been in the works for nearly two weeks. The agreement was finalized after Steve Francis, who originally balked about being traded, met with Orlando team officials.
McGrady had vowed to exercise his opt-out clause and leave Orlando at the end of next season and the Magic traded him rather than lose him without compensation. That is what happened when star center Shaquille O'Neal left the Magic in 1996 for the Los Angeles Lakers.