Can T-Mac rock the Rockets?

Updated: June 29, 2004, 5:13 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
If you're the Rockets, how do you counter the dynamic duo of the best center and best two guard in the league -- Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant?

You get the league's second-best at each position and hope like hell the Lakers implode. It looks like the Rockets are set on both fronts.

Sources said Tuesday that the Rockets and Magic have finalized a deal that sends Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Rockets in return for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato.

The two sides had until Wednesday to make the trade work before a two-week player movement moratorium kicks in. Now they'll approach free agency with clear heads.

Francis arrived in Orlando early Tuesday for a face-to-face meeting with GM John Weisbrod. All went well: McGrady and Howard will be wearing new uniforms next season.

With L.A. appearing to be on the verge of implosion, could the inside-outside combo of Yao Ming and T-Mac be the new dominating power in the West? As Insider continues its summer blueprint series, here's a look at what to expect:

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer