Spurs sign Tracy McGrady in time for playoffs

Spurs sign Tracy McGrady in time for playoffs

Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Tracy McGrady #1 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket against Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs during the game at AT&T Center on March 9, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)

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by David Flores / Kens5.com

khou.com

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 16 at 11:17 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Free agent forward Tracy McGrady, one of the NBA's most dynamic and athletic players when he was in his prime, has signed a contract to play for the Spurs for the rest of the season, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

McGrady's signing comes less than a week after the Spurs waived Stephen Jackson, who backed up rising second-year player Kawhi Leonard. McGrady will be eligible for the playoffs because he was not on an NBA roster as of March 1.

The Spurs, who have clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, host the Minnesota Timberwolves in their regular-season finale Wednesday night and start the playoffs this weekend.

McGrady told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that he will not play against the Timberwolves.

McGrady, 33, went straight from high school to the NBA in 1997 after getting selected by the Toronto Raptors with the ninth overall pick in that year's draft.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft.

McGrady, 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, has spent the season playing in China and averaged 5.3 points and 3 assists in 52 games with the Atlanta Hawks last year.

McGrady worked out for the Spurs late last summer, but was not offered a contract.

Depending on his conditioning, McGrady will be counted on to give the slumping Spurs a lift with his ability to penetrate and create opportunities for his new teammates. In his prime, McGrady was one of the NBA's most exciting players and prolific scorers.

He scored a career-high 62 points against Washington on March 10, 2004, but knee injuries started to take their toll on him by the time he turned 30.

Hampered by injuries and what Coach Gregg Popovich has called "a lack of focus," the Spurs are 6-6 in their last 12 games and have lost six consecutive road games.

A seven-time NBA All-Star, McGrady played three seasons with Toronto before going to the Orlando Magic in 2000. He also has suited up for the Houston Rockets (2004-2010), New York Knicks (2010) and Detroit Pistons (2010-11).

In 938 career NBA games, McGrady has averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.21 steals and 32.7 minutes. He has played in 15 NBA seasons.

McGrady has raised his play in the postseason, averaging 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.16 steals and 38.5 minutes in 44 career playoff games.

An All-NBA first-team pick in 2002 and 2003, McGrady made the second team in 2001, 2004 and 2007, and the third team in 2005 and 2008. He led the league in scoring in 2002-03 after averaging a career-high 32.1 points and in 2003-04 (28). 

McGrady played 29 games for Qingdao in the China Basketball League this season, averaging 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.55 steals and 31.6 minutes.

Born on May 24, 1979 in Bartow, Fla., McGrady played at Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Fla., and Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., before going pro as an 18-year-old.

In joining the Spurs, McGrady gets another opportunity to finally win a playoff series. He has played in the postseason eight times, but never has made it past the first round.

McGrady will wear No. 1 for the Spurs.

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