Portland–Hawks forward Tracy McGrady’s private frustrations over his playing time finally boiled over after he played just 4:39 during the 97-77 loss to the Blazers late Saturday.
“I’m tired of this [bleep],” McGrady said. “You can put that in the paper, I don’t give a [bleep].”
McGrady didn’t play after halftime against the Blazers. He didn’t dress for Atlanta’s 101-99 victory at Phoenix Wednesday but said it was his decision to rest for the second game of a back-to-back. Against the Blazers, McGrady never returned after Marvin Williams replaced him with 7:21 left in the first half.
McGrady has played in 26 of 32 games this season for an average of 18 minutes before Saturday’s game. Last season with Detroit McGrady averaged 23 minutes in 72 games.
McGrady said Hawks coach Larry Drew hasn’t offered him an explanation when he doesn’t play him many minutes.
“If you don’t feel I can help, come tell me that,” McGrady said. “He ain’t told me nothing. I just want to help these guys win, man, which I know I can. But, damn, four minutes?”
McGrady made his comments after Drew’s postgame news conference. Earlier this week Drew, speaking generally about the limited amount of minutes available for his many veteran players, said he thinks it’s important to offer them an explanation when they don’t play much.
McGrady said he’s previously approached Drew about the topic but doesn’t plan on doing so again.
“I have before but I’m only going to do that one time,” McGrady said.
Drew has said he’s mindful of saving McGrady’s body from wear and tear. McGrady was a two-time scoring champion before a series of injuries that includes a herniated disk in his back. He suffered back spasms on Jan. 11 and sat out three games.
McGrady said that when he suits up, that means he’s ready to play.
“My body feels great,” McGrady said. “If it didn’t, I wouldn’t play.”
Under CBA rules, McGrady would be eligible for a trade on March 1. He didn’t go so far as to say he wants out of Atlanta but said he wants to play a bigger role for the Hawks.
“Hopefully, I’m here,” he said. “I like it here. I like the guys. That’s what I love most about it. I like the guys in this locker room. But at the same time, I still can play. No doubt in my mind.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat