The Chicago Bulls are rumored to be interested in signing Tracy McGrady. The 31-year old has been on the shelf with injuries over the last few seasons, but has shown the ability to score points in a hurry in the past. Would he accept a bench role for a chance to make it out of the first-round of the playoffs? Would he accept a a one-year, incentive based, low salary deal? Those questions are yet to be answered, but I believe he would be a nice fit on the young Bulls team.
The Bulls have been very active this off-season and they are making a push to be contenders this season. They have had the moniker of “team on the rise” over the last three seasons, but with the addition of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer, they are becoming a very deep team. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah had career years last season and they are yet to hit their prime. The Bulls know that the window for this team is a few seasons, but that could change with key injuries.
McGrady, who is still younger than his body seems to be, could mentor some of the players on the team and help them mature. He has been a leader on some very good teams, but has always fell short of making it out of the first-round. The only season in which his team made is past the first-round, was when he was injured and couldn’t play. The risk of signing McGrady would be his knee. He had microfracture surgery and it usually takes two years for a player to regain his prior form or it never comes back at all. Amar’e Stoudamire had the surgery two seasons ago and he came out in 2009-10 and had a very productive year. He is a success story, but with that story come many others that aren’t as positive. Chris Webber had the surgery and even though he was solid when coming back, he was never the same. Age could be to blame in Webber’s case, but having the microfracture surgery couldn’t have helped.
Signing a player who has a history of injuries is very risky. It usually doesn’t work out and with the guaranteed contracts in the NBA, it’s a chance that many GMs don’t want to take. The one example of an injury-plagued player bouncing back later in his career is Grant Hill. He basically had his ankle completely reconstructed and had various other injuries when he was with the Orlando Magic. He signed a very cheap deal to resurrect his career with the Phoenix Suns and he has had a second-life with the team. I hope McGrady has the same luck, because he was such a phenomenal scorer during his prime, it would be a shame that an injury could shorten his career.