The deal left the Knicks on the verge of being able to offer two maximum salary contracts to the 2010 free agent class that could be headlined by LeBron James.
The Knicks sent Jared Jeffries and rookie Jordan Hill to Houston along with a protected first-round pick in 2012, and gave the Rockets the right to exchange first-round picks in 2011.
The Rockets will get high-scoring guard Kevin Martin and forward Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento, while the Kings received Larry Hughes from the Knicks, Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey from Houston, and sent guard Sergio Rodriguez to New York.
By including Jeffries in the deal for McGrady, whose $22.5 million contract expires after this season, the Knicks removed $6.9 million from next season’s payroll and left the team with about $32 million in salary-cap space. Those top free agents would each earn a little more than $16.5 million in the first season of a max deal.
In the meantime, the Knicks hope McGrady can lead them into the playoff race. He’s only played six games this season after returning from knee surgery, but is convinced he has plenty left.
It is a gamble. Stoudemire can opt out of the final year of his contract worth $17.7 million next season, and the Suns will have nothing but a little extra money to spend next summer.
Charlotte sent a future first-round pick to Chicago, along with the expiring contracts of guards Flip Murray and Acie Law. The Bobcats made another minor trade, acquiring veteran big man Theo Ratliff from San Antonio for a second-round pick.
The contracts of Warrick and Alexander both expire at the end of the season, potentially freeing up space for the Bulls to bid for marquee free agents.
The Bucks also obtained the Bulls’ second-round picks in 2011 and 2012, along with the option to switch first-round picks in the 2010 draft - provided that Chicago’s pick isn’t in the top 10.
Milwaukee made a second trade, sending guard Jodie Meeks and center Francisco Elson to the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Royal Ivey, center Primoz Brezec, and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft.