Tracy McGrady claims he could have gotten along with Shaq

Getty Images/Yahoo!In the mid-2000s, the debate among NBA fans was Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady.

That is not a type-o. McGrady and Bryant were considered on the same level for a long stretch in the 2000s when McGrady was putting up obscene statistics with the Magic and the Rockets and Bryant was putting up obscene numbers with the Lakers. Of course, the argument ender was that Bryant had the championships.

Of course, Bryant was not satisfied being in Shaquille O'Neal's shadow for long. Despite three titles, Bryant was largely seen as the impetus for the Lakers to trade O'Neal in the summer of 2004. Bryant wanted to be on his own and he proceeded to put up McGrady-like numbers on his own.

These were the two best scoring wing players in the league and they were going to battle for the best scorer in the league for the next decade (we did not know then that Kevin Durant was coming down the pike).

McGrady never got the help Bryant got. And that kind of sticks in McGrady's craw a bit. Because Bryant gave up O'Neal, the most dominant center in recent history, because of his ego.

McGrady told Jay Mohr of Fox Sports Radio last week that he would have found a way to work with O'Neal if it meant winning titles (h/t Steve DelVecchio of Larry Brown Sports):

We would have had a great run. I don’t know how many but, I know it would have never ended like it did with he and Kobe. I have a great relationship with Shaq. We would have never clashed heads like that. Two Alpha dogs going at there will always be (something going on).

McGrady never had that issue of course in Orlando or Houston. He and Yao Ming got along, but they never won. And McGrady retired without ever winning a ring. . . or really getting out of the first round. He did not get out of the first round until this season with the Spurs when he was relegated to victory cigar duty.

There goes another great "what if" in the "what if" career of Tracy McGrady.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily