Blockbuster Will Make Waves for Weeks
The seven-player trade between Houston and Orlando became official June 29, but it will make headlines all summer as free agents seek an opportunity to play alongside two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady and All-Star center Yao Ming.

The Rockets sent Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato to the Magic for McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines, creating needs in Houston at point guard and backup center.

As the Rockets seek to fill their vacancies, free agents will seek an opportunity to team up with T-Mac and Yao. "Every guard in the NBA is going to be interested," Craig McKenzie, agent for veteran Charlie Ward, told the Houston Chronicle.

Lue and Gaines are the only Rockets point guards under contract. Derek Fisher, Troy Hudson and Ward are on the market, as are Brent Barry and Bob Sura, who can play either guard spot.

The Chronicle said Brian Skinner, Etan Thomas and Adonal Foyle might be the sort of physical and versatile players the Rockets could seek in the backup center/forward role Cato played, though each could be priced out of Houston's reach.

Orlando, meanwhile, wasted little time in revamping its team and is primed to challenge Miami in the Southeast Division. Francis is a three-time All-Star, and Mobley and Cato should join him in the starting lineup. The Magic also drafted Dwight Howard with the No. 1 pick and acquired the rights to college star Jameer Nelson.

Break down the deal: June 29, June 30
Player introductions: Houston Orlando
Francis: 56k | 300k
McGrady: 56k | 300k


Orlando bolstered its roster with a big trade and big draft. And then there's Grant Hill. The five-time All-Star was rarely in a Magic uniform at the same time as McGrady, but if Hill succeeds in his final attempt to return from an ankle injury, he'll be an important addition to the lineup.

"McGrady and Yao Ming will run one of the best two-man games in the league. Having McGrady also could entice a free-agent point guard such as Derek Fisher or Brent Barry to sign, and all of a sudden the Rockets are a legitimate title contender."
-- David DuPree, USA Today

Houston Chronicle: Love connection
Chronicle: Beacon for free agents
Hou. Chronicle: Fine first impression
Fla. Today: New look, new attitude
Houston Chronicle: Magic kingdom
ESPN.com: Fantasy spin
ESPN.com: Blockbuster is official
Houston Chronicle: Done deal