The Orlando Magic should re-sign swingman Tracy McGrady once free agency begins in July, writes David Aldridge of NBA.com in his weekly Morning Tip column. The veteran NBA writer argues the Magic have been at their best during the Dwight Howard era when they also employed "a small forward [...] whose size and playmaking ability allowed the other three players on the floor to do what they were on the court to do -- catch and shoot." Hedo Turkoglu isn't that player anymore, says Aldridge, but McGrady is. Aldridge cites McGrady's stellar assist-to-turnover ratios from his last two seasons as evidence that the former Magic superstar still has plenty to offer at the NBA level.
McGrady, who turns 33 later in May, averaged 5.3 points, three rebounds, and 2.1 assists for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2011/12 campaign and appeared in 52 of a possible 66 games. The year prior, with the Detroit Pistons, the Auburndale native posted averages of eight points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 72 appearances.
"If the Magic insist on the same four-out, one-in style around Howard next season," says Aldridge, "they have to have someone who can make things easier for the other guys." That'd be McGrady, who's played each of his last two seasons at the league's minimum salary and would thus be in Orlando's price range, despite its dire salary-cap situation.
In a March interview with Fox Sports Florida, McGrady argued that Howard should stay with the Magic instead of signing elsewhere. "It's a great city," he said. "It's great weather [....] So you already have something good there. Why try to go somewhere that you just never know?"
Orlando's incumbent small forwards are Turkoglu and Quentin Richardson, with Jason Richardson able to shift over from shooting guard if needed.
McGrady stands as the Magic's all-time leader in points per game (28.1) and led the league in scoring twice in his four seasons with Orlando. He's also fifth in rebounds per game (seven) and fourth in assists per game (5.2).