Weisbrod: Seven or more teams still in play

Updated: June 23, 2004, 9:42 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider

Tracy McGrady may be wearing new colors next season, but don't put him in a Rockets uniform just yet.

Magic general manager John Weisbrod said Wednesday that Orlando is still in the process of fielding trade offers for McGrady and hasn't ruled out the All-Star's return to the team next season. Weisbrod said Orlando is weighing offers from no fewer than seven different teams for McGrady.

"I know because of the magnitude of the deal and the magnitude of him as a player it is a big rush to people to try and conclude where he is going to be, but all those options are still open," Weisbrod said Wednesday. "He could still be here, and obviously he could be traded. I would say there are at least seven teams that are still under consideration.

"There are plenty of deals out there right now if we wanted to do a deal for Tracy," he added. "There are plenty of deals out there right now obviously if we wanted to do a deal for the No. 1 pick. ... These are the two biggest chips that we have to use to improve a team that was a pretty bad team last year. There's no time pressure."

According to multiple reports Monday, the Rockets and Magic were close to finalizing a McGrady-for-Steve Francis deal that included multiple players, but two issues have popped up over the past few days that may have led the Magic to assess other options.

  • Francis, who has no veto power over a trade, said he doesn't want to play in Orlando.

  • Other teams interested in acquiring McGrady have sweetened their offers.

    Nothing is settled, and Weisbrod said a McGrady trade is unlikely to happen before the draft.

    "We certainly would have a good idea as to what our options are, what we could conceivably do with Tracy before we go into the draft, but there are a lot of pieces that go into it," he said.

    "I don't really read the papers or follow the media, but I've just heard because of all the GMs that are calling in that it has been reported or the assumption is out there that it is done, or Houston is the team. That is certainly not the case. We are still weighing all of our options."

    Multiple league sources said that Orlando's hottest talks on Tuesday were with the Suns, but Phoenix may be out of the running for McGrady now that they have traded the No. 7 pick in the draft to the Bulls, ESPN.com Insider reported Wednesday night.

    Earlier in the day, the Suns were dangling the No. 7 pick, along with Shawn Marion, to the Magic in an effort to land McGrady.

    However, after the Magic announced that they wouldn't be making a McGrady trade until after the draft, the Suns grew impatient and agreed to the swap with the Bulls. Phoenix will receive one of the Bulls' second-round picks (No. 31), a future first-rounder and an undisclosed amount of cash in return, ESPN.com Insider has learned.

    While Suns sources wouldn't characterize the talks with the Magic as "dead," they claim that they are no longer in active discussions with the Magic for McGrady.

    McGrady is still insisting he'll only sign a long-term contract extension with the Rockets. Because McGrady can opt out of his contract at the end of this season, teams are insisting that he waive his opt-out clause or sign an extension before trading for him.

    If the Magic and Rockets consummate a deal, the official announcement might be held up depending on which players are included. Since Francis' contract extension went into effect this year, he is considered a base-year player, meaning the Rockets can take back only 50 percent of his contract value in trade until June 30.

    Sources have told ESPN.com that the base-year compensation concerns about Francis are overblown. There are workable combinations of players that would make Francis tradable immediately if the Magic choose to pull the trigger. Some combinations of players and salaries would require the Rockets to wait until after June 30 for Francis' base-year status to expire. In that scenario, the trade could not be completed until after July 15 because of the NBA's moratorium on player movement from July 1-15.

    The original deal with Houston, first reported on Monday, also had Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines heading to Houston while Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato went to the Magic.

    McGrady would not comment Tuesday on any potential trades.

    "I don't know what you're talking about," McGrady said when questioned by the Orlando Sentinel.

    The Rockets are still McGrady's first and most likely choice. However, that deal still may hinge on Francis. The Magic spoke with Francis' agent, Jeff Fried, on Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to smooth things over.

    "Steve's preference is to not go to Orlando," Fried said. "Steve's tasted the playoffs. [The Rockets] got a series under their belts. He was looking forward to going further with the same Rockets team but with another year of experience together. This is certainly not his preference. He loves Houston."

    Weisbrod says he understands Francis' initial reaction.

    "He doesn't have any aversion to coming to Orlando, from what I understand," Weisbrod said. "He has an aversion to leaving Houston, based on everything he has been through with them and some of his commitments and understanding as to what they told him his future was there. ... It was unfortunate that the kid was put in that position because he is asked all these questions as if there was some deal immediately pending and that he was in it, and that wasn't fair to him. That certainly wasn't the case."

    All of this trade talk is creating enormous confusion around the league as the draft approaches. The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and claim that they still haven't decided whether to take Emeka Okafor or Dwight Howard.

    "We have not made up our mind," Weisbrod said. "One of the reasons why we pushed to have the answers for ourselves in terms of at least what our options were, and where the Tracy thing could conceivably end up, was because you want to weigh that information into your pick."

    "We love both of those kids. We would be comfortable drafting either of those kids, and now it comes down to how the rest of the pieces are going to fit and how do you see the dominos going down throughout the rest of summer."

    Sources told ESPN.com Insider on Tuesday that the Magic were leaning toward taking Howard with the No. 1 pick if they make the trade with the Rockets. But if they instead decide to make another trade, there are scenarios where Okafor appears to make more sense to Orlando.

    Chad Ford

    Senior Writer, NBA Insider
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