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Both take shots at McGrady's leadership

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando Magic general manager John Weisbrod
believes the Magic will be a whole lot better without departed star
Tracy McGrady.

Weisbrod took some parting shots Wednesday at his former player,
implying McGrady wasn't capable of leading a winning team.

"It starts with how you define a superstar," Weisbrod said.
"I think a superstar is defined by wins, by making the players
around him better and by making the team better. On that part, my
perception is a little different than most."

Marking only the fourth time a defending scoring champion has
ever been traded, McGrady was sent to the Houston Rockets in exchange for point
guard Steve Francis, shooting guard Cuttino Mobley and forward Kelvin
Cato on Tuesday. Orlando also parted with power forward Juwan
Howard, and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines.

McGrady was an All-Star in each of his four years in Orlando,
averaging 28.1 points, and quickly became the Magic's most popular
player. But his behavior during last season's 61-loss disaster
convinced Weisbrod that McGrady was part of the problem.

In McGrady's place are players who want to win.

"We're here to fill voids the Magic know they have lacked in
the last couple of seasons," said Francis, a three-time All-Star.
"You're going to get a gutsy effort every single night from all
three of us. There's no trying to be too cute or trying to be too
cool basketball from us."

Added Mobley: "I don't think we have a loser mentality at
all."

Francis said it was obvious the Magic lost heart last season
after an early 19-game losing streak. It was during the slide that
McGrady -- selected team captain in the offseason -- startled the
organization when he openly discussed quitting.

"You have to display a sense of urgency. I thought their
players didn't do that," Francis said. "Once they got on a losing
streak, it looked like they hung their heads."

Weisbrod said that by the All-Star break, it was clear McGrady
wanted out. When McGrady told team owner Rich DeVos two weeks ago
he wanted to be traded to a contender, that made it easier for the
Magic to part ways.

"We just came to the conclusion that if he wanted to leave, we
thought that could very well be best for our basketball team,"
Weisbrod said.

McGrady can opt out of his seven-year, $93-million contract
after next season, so it appeared he held leverage through the
unspoken threat of his team receiving no compensation if he left.
But Weisbrod refused to limit his talks to teams where McGrady
wanted to play.

"There were seven or eight teams that were perfectly
comfortable trading for Tracy whether he wanted to go there or not,
whether he would opt in or not," Weisbrod said. "So, we certainly
weren't in any kind of corner."

Last season, Francis averaged 16.6 points and Mobley 15.8 as
Houston's starting backcourt. At times, they struggled against new
coach Jeff Van Gundy's desire to make center Yao Ming the team's
focus and both players saw their statistics drop from the previous
season.

"We were basically a half-court team," said Francis, who shot
a career-low 40 percent last year. "You know we wanted to try to
run, but it was tough. We didn't really work on running in practice
enough for us to be real comfortable in the games with running."