McGrady back in NBA with Spurs
Updated: 2013-04-18 01:50
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Eagles' big-name recruit hitches playoff ride at San Antonio
Tracy McGrady has traded his starring role in China for a bit part in the United States … for a while, anyway.
To add to their depth and experience as the playoffs near, the San Antonio Spurs announced on Wednesday the signing of 33-year-old McGrady until the end of the season. The seven-time NBA All Star played with the Qingdao Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association's 2012-13 season.
However, his temporary NBA contract is unlikely to affect a return to the CBA next season.
Since heading back to the US in February, McGrady has often expressed his delight at the warm support he received in China and said that door would always be open to him.
Sheng Xishun, the Eagles' general manager who brought T-Mac to Qingdao last offseason, was happy for McGrady to return to the NBA and remains positive the fan favorite will return to the club next season.
"It's good for him (to join the Spurs) as he can keep in shape," Sheng told qq.com on Wednesday.
"We will meet him this summer during his China visit and will try our hardest to convince him to stay next season. If some other teams (in the CBA) want to sign him as well, we will make other plans (to keep him)."
McGrady's agent, Elisa Grabow, told qq.com that the veteran forward would not consider offers from China for now as he was focused on helping the Spurs in the postseason, but said she would contact Chinese clubs once McGrady's stint with San Antonio expired.
McGrady will lead a US star team to play exhibition games in China in June.
Although the Eagles finished bottom of the league with an 8-24 record, McGrady received overwhelming support in almost every city he played in, thanks mainly to his partnership with Yao Ming at the Houston Rockets.
McGrady averaged 25 points and 7.2 rebounds in his 29 CBA games last season and was voted a starter in the All- Star Game although he skipped that event to return to the US.
Despite a terrific individual career, McGrady, the NBA scoring champion in 2003 and 2004, has never won a NBA playoff series.
With the second-seeded Spurs set to face either the Rockets or the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening round, this may be his best, and last, chance.
"Whatever happens, I'm just glad to be a part of this environment," McGrady told ESPN on Wednesday "(It's) something I never experienced while being at my best."