Rockets struggling to find fit for T-Mac

Updated: January 20, 2005, 11:16 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider

Hindsight is 20/20, but when we wrote that the Tracy McGrady-Steve Francis trade had the potential to be a disaster for the Magic ... the theory seemed to have some pretty strong legs.

McGrady, who had coasted through a losing season with the Magic, was, on talent, one of the top five players in the league. His versatility and skill set, for his size, really was unmatched by any player in the league.

Francis, on the other hand, was coming off the worst season of his career. He had wilted under the stink eye of Jeff Van Gundy. He struggled to become a real point guard for the first time of his career. The Rockets wanted to dump him months ago. To get McGrady in return really was a fantasy scenario for everyone in Houston.

Steve Francis

Tracy McGrady

On paper, the Rockets came out of this June 29, 2004, trade so far ahead, Carroll Dawson could have been charged with a crime.

Funny thing about the "on paper" analysis. Sometimes it's dead on ... other times -- just ask the SuperSonics -- it's dead wrong.

Nearly halfway into the season, the McGrady-Francis blockbuster looks a lot better for the Magic than it appeared at first glance. The Rockets, meanwhile, are still struggling to reap the rewards of the trade.

The Rockets, however, won at Orlando 108-99 on Thursday in their first regular-season matchup since the McGrady-Francis trade. Meanwhile, Insider breaks down the deal.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer