Everyone loves a comeback. According to Yahoo Sports, retired seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady has been working out with Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant a few times this summer in Los Angeles. McGrady is testing his body for a possible return to the NBA.
“Yes, I was working out with K.B. to get in shape and see how my body feels,” McGrady told Yahoo Sports in an email Tuesday night.
McGrady has career averages of 19.6 points 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He won the scoring title twice and made the All-NBA First Team two times while playing for nine teams in his 15-year career.
More affectionately referred to as “T-Mac,” McGrady was an all-out highlight reel with the Raptors. At one point his quickness, insane vertical leap and ability to drop buckets on any defender earned him a spot in the NBA’s best debate right aside Bryant.It’s ironic that both players are now synonymous with the word “comeback.”
First, let’s cover the optimism. Hold on to your seats, Lakers fans!
We all know Kobe Bryant doesn’t waste his time on anyone or anything that can’t help further his and/or the Lakers’ hustle. In his quest to reclaim the NBA throne before retiring, the idea of upgrading the Lakers small forward situation is most likely appealing to Bryant.
After all, their starter at the position is Xavier Henry and coming off the bench behind him Wesley Johnson (cue the violins). Adding McGrady to the fold could be a positive for Los Angeles and an obvious offensive upgrade over the aforementioned.
The Lakers have also been rumored to have interest in free agent forward Michael Beasley.
Undoubtedly there’s interest from the Lakers front office with regards to McGrady, especially if he looks healthy. When a player of his caliber starts talking about lacing up his kicks again, you’ve got to pay attention.
For the Lakers, their best case scenario is a starting wing of Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady later in the season. A late addition and final push to help the Lakers thrive in the playoffs.
Now let’s discuss the reality of the situation, or what’s more commonly referred to as the “haterism.” Even if McGrady feels up to the task of returning to the league, he’s contractually obligated to a basketball tour of China in October.
That makes him unavailable for any NBA team by training camp. At the age of 35 with a body plagued by knee and back injuries that seriously derailed his career, a comeback at this point is highly unrealistic, especially if he’s to join an NBA team mid-season.
Drafted ninth overall in the 1997 draft by the Toronto Raptors, Tim Duncan is the only reputable player still active in the NBA from McGrady’s draft class. That’s not to suggest McGrady is an NBA relic who has nothing left to contribute … well, I suppose it is.
More so it means his level of contribution on the floor would be minimal and there are younger and more agile players sitting on the sidelines. It would be too hard for McGrady to get into game shape, join a team, get acclimated to game speed and make a meaningful impact after fulfilling his obligations in China.
Also, if McGrady does make a comeback to the NBA, you can be almost certain it won’t be with the Lakers, who are in the middle of a comeback themselves. It’s near-impossible to finish the season with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, only to return the next year and contend for a championship.
It’s even harder to accomplish with a similar locker room, new head coach and no other stars added besides the returned (from injury) Bryant. It’s going to take a few seasons for the Lakers to get back to the top of the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
That’s why they call it a “rebuild” and not a “re-up.”
Last, although McGrady has been working with Kobe to stage a comeback, Kobe is staging a comeback of his own. It’s not out of this world to consider that Bryant set up workouts with McGrady to test is own level of fitness and athleticism.
This whole fiasco might’ve been Kobe’s way of getting in better shape and seeing how his body feels — at McGrady’s expense.
Although the sound of McGrady coming back to the NBA is exciting on paper and rolls off the tongue nice, this one’s not happening in Los Angeles or anywhere else.