After impressing Pistons president Joe Dumars, head coach John Kuester and the Detroit training staff in a workout late last week, the Pistons became more serious about signing the free-agent forward.
After internal discussions over the weekend, and conversations on Monday with agent Arn Tellem, the Pistons and McGrady came to terms on what team officials believe is a low-risk, high-reward proposition: McGrady, 31, a full year removed from microfracture surgery on his left knee, will play for the NBA's veteran's minimum. After saying all the wrong things and turning off the Chicago Bulls, McGrady sold the Pistons on his willingness to play whatever role asked of him off the Detroit bench, sources said.
The Pistons plan to use McGrady as part of their rotation of wing players, which includes Richard Hamilton(notes), Ben Gordon(notes), Austin Daye(notes) and Charlie Villanueva(notes). McGrady is determined to prove he can still be a good NBA player, even if his days as a two-time first-team All-NBA star and a two-time scoring champion are over.
McGrady had private workouts with the Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers in recent weeks, but both teams passed on signing him. After a turbulent five-plus seasons with the Houston Rockets, he was traded in a three-way deal with the Sacramento Kings to the New York Knicks and averaged 9.4 points in 24 games. His knee showed an inability to withstand the pounding of consistent minutes, but further rehab over the spring and summer has strengthened it, sources said.