Many Happy Returns?

Once upon a time, Tracy McGrady was getting mentions in those "the next Jordan" conversations, and Eddy Curry was being touted as a building block for one of the league's highest-profile franchises.

Today, both are salary cap millstones their teams would love to move, and who haven't been seen on a basketball court in months.

That's changing soon. McGrady has been telling reporters he feels great and wanted to return for the Rockets' November 18th game against the T-Wolves. (Not so fast, said Houston management... they want to put him through the paces at a full practice before he's cleared to play -- the next opportunity for that will be the 23rd.)

Curry, meanwhile, has apparently lost some of the weight the Knicks have been trying to get him to shed for the better part of a year. When reporter Marc Berman asked coach Mike D'Antoni how Curry is looking, D'Antoni quipped, "He looks good, Marc. I'm gonna ask him on a date."

His Knicks have lost seven of eight to start the season, but he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

Is either player worth consideration in fantasy leagues?

If you believe the preliminary reports out of Houston, McGrady is moving better than he has in years. Even at 90% of his peak, he'd be a pretty compelling player. And though Houston has started off better-than-expected, Rick Adelman's team is pretty clearly short on playmakers.

On the other hand, he also has the biggest contract in the league -- and it expires after this season. If Daryl Morey wants to move him, he'll have no shortage of takers. And there's no guarantee his next employer will be as eager to hand him a starting job. As for the reports of his health... let's just say McGrady and the Rockets haven't exactly been on the same page for the last 18 months or so; it's hard to say who to believe.

As for Curry, even if he has reached the Knicks unspecified but undoubtedly agressive conditioning goals, he'll still need to crack Mike D'Antoni's rotation. The Knicks are comically undersized and soft in the middle, usually using a tandem of David Lee and Jared Jeffries. Curry, a notoriously poor rebounder for his size, doesn't really solve that problem. And even at his peak physical condition, it's hard to imagine him as a key player in D'Antoni's up-tempo scheme; he's like an offensive tackle running 'go' routes.

But he could give the Knicks an element they sorely lack right now -- an old-school back-to-the-basket scorer who can get high-percentage shots when the jumpers aren't falling. And since moving Curry's contract is a must if Donnie Walsh wants to make a big splash in next year's free agent market, giving the big fella some run and a chance to prove he can still play is a must.

I'm personally inclined to take a chance on McGrady. With Curry, I want to actually see him get 20 minutes in a game before giving up a roster spot.


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