Published July 26, 2010
CHICAGO – Seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady worked out for the Chicago Bulls on Monday with hopes of landing with the team he turned down a decade earlier.
McGrady could be a low-risk addition for a reconfigured team coming off back-to-back first-round playoff exits. The Bulls wouldn't have to pay him much and could refuse to fully guarantee the deal if they make an offer, but there are big questions surrounding his health.
The two-time scoring champion had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February 2009 and appeared in just 30 games last season with New York and Houston, averaging 8.2 points. Besides concerns about his condition, another issue is whether he'll accept a more limited role.
On his Twitter account in the past week, McGrady praised the Bulls and referenced the courtship 10 years ago when he was one of the top prizes in a free agent class that included Grant Hill and Tim Duncan.
A three-piece band, cheerleaders, team mascot Benny the Bull and then-general manager Jerry Krause greeted him at O'Hare, but with little talent in place, the Bulls struck out. McGrady wound up leaving Toronto for Orlando, instead.
This summer, the Bulls had enough salary-cap space to land two major stars to play alongside All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Chicago went after top prizes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They decided to former a superstar trio in Miami, and the Bulls landed two-time All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, sharpshooter Kyle Korver and guard Ronnie Brewer, who all played together in Utah.
They also added backup guard C.J. Watson and signed veteran forward Kurt Thomas to a one-year deal in a move that was announced on Monday, giving them a strong defender and rebounder to go with Boozer and Noah. And they have a new coach in Tom Thibodeau.
"I've been looking forward to seeing Thibodeau get a head coaching job for a number of years," said Thomas, who played for New York when Thibodeau was a Knicks assistant. "He definitely put in his time. He's a hard worker. He's very passionate about the game. And to finally see him get this opportunity and be a part of it is definitely a blessing."
The new coach, new additions and core that was in place were big draws for Thomas.
"All those weighed in heavy in my decision to sign here," he said.