Tracy McGrady was traded to the Houston Rockets in a multiplayer deal that sent Steve Francis to the Orlando Magic yesterday.
The long-anticipated deal also sent forward Juwan Howard, and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Rockets. The Magic also got guard Cuttino Mobley and forward Kelvin Cato.
The trade, announced by the Rockets, was finalized after Francis's meeting with Magic general manager John Weisbrod in Orlando.
McGrady, a two-time NBA scoring champion, now joins 7-foot-5-inch Yao Ming to form one of basketball's most intriguing tandems.
McGrady, tired of carrying a mediocre franchise, vowed to exercise the out clause that was to go into effect at the end of next season. But the Magic did not want him to leave without the team receiving compensation -- as Shaquille O'Neal did eight years ago.
Francis, a three-time All-Star, averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.2 assists last season.
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Sam Mitchell, saying he will rely on his assistants to help him out, was hired as the Toronto Raptors head coach just two years after he retired as a player. Mitchell, who played in the NBA for 13 years, was an assistant coach for the expansion Charlotte Bobcats for the past month. After playing for Minnesota and Indiana, Mitchell spent two years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks before leaving for Charlotte. "I understand the concerns. That's why we're going to have a great support staff around me," said Mitchell, who is expected to add longtime NBA assistant Jim Todd to his staff. "We're going to have guys that have coached many years." The Raptors gave Mitchell a three-year contract worth nearly $5 million . . . The Bobcats hired Gary Brokaw as their top assistant, replacing Mitchell . . . The New Orleans Hornets hired Willis Reed as their vice president of basketball operations. The 62-year-old Reed is a Louisiana native who in 1996 was chosen as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players . . . The New Jersey Nets made a qualifying offer to All-Star forward Kenyon Martin. Last season, Martin averaged 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds and was selected to his first All-Star team . . . Jack Givens, the Magic's television analyst and the Most Outstanding Player of the 1978 NCAA Tournament, was arrested and charged with sexual battery and lewd molestation of a 14-year-old girl.