Tracy McGrady will be in the starting lineup in his New York Knicks debut on Saturday night against Oklahoma City. Coach Mike D’Antoni said he doesn’t know what the complete lineup will be, but it will include McGrady. The Knicks acquired the seven-time All-Star on Thursday in a three-team deal with Houston and Sacramento.
McGrady played only limited minutes in six games for the Rockets this season after coming back from microfracture knee surgery. He said he hopes he can play 25 to 30 minutes Saturday in what will be his first action since Dec. 23.
"Physically I feel good, but then again I haven’t played in a year and a half,” McGrady said. "Even the eight minutes I was playing, you really can’t get a feel of how long I can play. But yeah, I think I’m ready to go.”
D’Antoni wasn’t sure either, since McGrady was limited to only about 7 1/2 minutes a game this season after surgery last February. The swingman has played 41 games over the last two seasons. "I asked him about everything and he says ‘I have no idea,”’ D’Antoni said. "We’ll talk about it during the game and there’s no restrictions on him from a medical standpoint, only how he feels and the way he looks and all that. But he’ll communicate with me when he wants to come out.”
The Knicks held their first morning shootaround at home this season so their new acquisitions could become more familiar with the offense. They also brought in point guard Sergio Rodriguez in the three-team trade, and acquired Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens in a deal that sent Nate Robinson to Boston.
The biggest piece was McGrady, more for his $22.5 million expiring contract than for the talents that won him two scoring titles. Even McGrady acknowledged that he’ll be rusty and expects his timing and rhythm to be off.
"I don’t think a lot of people expect a lot out of me anyway. So, it’s really no pressure,” McGrady said. "I’m just looking forward to going out there and playing.”