On December 7th, 2009, when Allen Iverson pulled on the Sixers jersey for the first time (again), a rare packed house in Philadelphia gave him oodles of love. Hearing Tracy McGrady signed on with the Pistons today, it was hard not to see the connection between the two moves. No, this future Hall-of-Famer isn’t going back to a former stomping ground where he won a scoring title or two, but this is purely a PR move.
T-Mac doesn’t make a bad Pistons roster much better at all. This team will engage in an epic battle for the 12th or 13th spot in the East and whatever T-Mac has left isn’t worth adding to an already heavy-loaded wing position. Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, DaJuan Summers and Ben Gordon will all lose minutes to a 31-year-old trapped in a 35-year-old’s body. Save the speech that he’ll help the team; T-Mac hastily autographed the only contract placed in front of him.
If I’m McGrady, I want to continue playing basketball, so I can’t blame him for retracting his “I’m in good enough shape to be a starter” comments and moving on to his fifth NBA team. I was actually fine with the way he conducted himself in New York, but you wanna take on a player on his last legs who thinks he’s actually improved after 13 seasons of ball? Pistons management must not have been watching when AI got frustrated with the organization and eventually skipped out of P-A. But they were surely watching those once empty seats being filled in the Wells Fargo Center (yeah, that’s what they’re calling it these days).
Just like December 7th, 2009, we’ll watch Tracy’s Detroit debut. He’ll probably have a decent night, and then we’ll lose interest. But the negative consequences for his teammates will live on, and they’ll likely sell less tickets than they did in Philadelphia.
Just when the Pistons roster gets back to full strength and they can finally take a look at what they assembled last summer, they add a man who’ll cause more pain than pleasure.