Tracy McGrady appears to be getting wiser with age.
It’s been so long that some might forget that the Toronto Raptors were the team that actually drafted McGrady out of high school in 1997.
But once the forward hit free agency at the turn of the century, he departed for what he believed were bigger and better things with the Orlando Magic.
McGrady’s numbers drastically increased and he became a perennial all-star for seven straight seasons but the small forward never found success at the most important time of the year.
Before this season – where he’s essentially a benchwarmer with the San Antonio Spurs – McGrady had never won a playoff round in his entire career. (Yes, that’s not a typo.)
But while the Florida native was said to be never a fan of the Toronto winters, it seems like the 34-year-old still wonders about leaving behind a potential championship-contending team with Vince Carter and the Raptors.
McGrady said Toronto would have been a championship contender had he stayed.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) June 7, 2013
McGrady said if he'd stuck w the Raptors: "I think Toronto could have been a team that would have competed w/the Lakers for championships"
— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) June 7, 2013
When McGrady left, Carter was at the height of his NBA career. He was the slam dunk champion, blooming superstar, and taking the league by storm. Some believed McGrady wanted a spotlight of his own but it’s hard not to think about how dominant the combination of Carter and McGrady could have been for the long haul in Toronto.
A team with those two superstars during the 2000s had the potential to contend with dynasties like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
— Paul Jones (@Paul__Jones) June 7, 2013
But with Carter, the Raptors only were able to win just one playoff series. Even with solid role players like Antonio Davis, Alvin Williams – it wasn’t enough to sustain the early success.
Carter eventually fell out of fortune with the club and was essentially traded to New Jersey for a bag of basketballs – Alonzo Mourning’s contract, Eric williams, Aaron Williams and two draft picks. He’s done some nice things in New Jersey and with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks, but never came close to reaching the heights he did in Toronto.
Years later, the Raptors are still searching for an identity while McGrady and Carter are barely hanging on the back of NBA rosters.
Which brings back the question: How good could the duo of McGrady and Carter could have been in Toronto? Not just for the franchise but for the players’ themselves.
It seems like McGrady, who is looking to earn his first championship ring, is wondering the same thing. He knows how special the Raptors franchise could have become.