by Ryne Nelson

Will Rockets fans miss the most important trade of the decade? It could definitely go under the radar.

H-Town shipped both its 2009 draft picks (to bring in Luis Scola and Ron Artest), leaving most Rockets fans without incentive to follow the NBA’s annual rite of passage. It’s no small secret, though, that the team would like to get rid of Tracy McGrady, and June 25 could be as good of time as any to make it happen.

Could they dish him to another area code when supporters have their collective heads turned? Draft Express has heard murmurs:

Houston also seems to be very active in trade talk, particularly in trying to move Tracy McGrady we’re told. McGrady will be out for the first 20-30 games of the regular season, but there is some thought that he might be able to help a playoff team down the stretch, particularly since he’s in a contract year.

It’s tough to see how many teams would be able to absorb the $20+ million he’s owed next season. The New York Knicks might be one of them. Houston would be looking for a shooting guard in return.

Of course, the Rockets would like to get good value to McGrady. And the Knicks want better value for their $20+ million. Trading McGrady for a draft pick would seem like an option, but ultimately a step back in their title pursuit. For that reason, the Rockets should stay relatively quiet next week. GM Daryl Morey may make a shrewd deal to unload salary, possibly for a future pick, but the Rockets would be wise not to trade its established players for an inexperienced question mark.

But a rookie could just be the icing on the cake of a large trade. It’s purely speculation, but Rip Hamilton’s a name oft-mentioned as being on the block. Should the Pistons offer a package including Hamilton and its first round pick for Mac, the Rockets would be enticed to accept.

Chance are the Rockets will wait to do something during the free agency period if they’re going to make a move. But Rocket fans may not want to miss the Draft… just in case.