The Big Three That Never Happened

Miami — Of the thousands who flocked to American Airlines Arena to witness the coming out party of the most discussed, and cussed, free agent bounties in some time, two folks in particular stood out.

Tracy McGrady was in the house as a member of the Pistons, John Gabriel as a scout. A decade earlier, they held the same hopes and dreams as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Pat Riley, dreams shattered with the force of a Dwight Howard block.

In 2000, the Magic had cleared enough cap room to sign 2 and maybe 3 top-shelf free agents. This was the plan from the previous season, when they carried a team almost completely composed of players on the final year of their deals. Orlando was led by Doc Rivers, the freshly-named coach of the year, and Gabriel, a well-respected general manager. And just by chance, T-Mac, Grant Hill and Tim Duncan were free agents.

Orlando swung a sign-and-trade for Hill (sacrificing Ben Wallace, who 4 years would later be the anchor for the Pistons’ championship team). Duncan came for a visit, then T-Mac, who saw nothing but prosperity ahead for Orlando.

“It would’ve been us playing the Lakers for the championship,” T-Mac said Tuesday, “every year. C’mon, man, nobody was gonna beat us.”

Nobody, except tough luck. Duncan re-signed with the Spurs (“He was loyal. I can’t hold that against him,” says McGrady) and Hill spent most of his 4 years in Orlando with a bum foot. McGrady prospered and became rich, but the Magic never went anywhere until he left and Howard was drafted.

T-Mac is now trying for yet another comeback from knee issues, saying, “I’m 31 but my body is just 28,” and counting himself as one of many who’s curious about the Heat.

“I’m jealous,” he said. “I hope they win 10 championships.”


  1. AJ says:

    The big 3 in miami are some of the most talented players in the nba. Bosh is better then gasol, given a chance to shine and he would be considered in the H of F. Kobe is one of the best players but he is geting old and the lakers im afrad might not have much more then 1 championship in them left if their lucky. The lakers will still be 1 of the best teams, but now their is more being added. Ron Artest has always been one of the best defensive players in the league. Boston picked up both Shaq O’neal and Jermaine O’neal, their now gonna be much harder with al lthe space being filled in the middle. Rondo is the only reason they really made it to the finals. Orlando should be ready and hungry come playoffs. Now, back to miami’s big 3. D. wade has won a championship, and he knows what it takes. Lebron is only geting stronger with all this hate and has at least been to the playoffs. If you havent noticed, lebron has a chip even more so to show all of these people whats up. The big 3 and their entire roster still have to own up to the hype kinda like lebron SURPASSED the HYPE that was set on him when he was entering the league. Lets also remember the big 3 in boston and how they won a championship the first year they composed. Most people agree with that in mind, not to mention how old their geting and no one counts them out around playoffs. You want to talk ego? Paul pierce, He clamed he was the best player in the world when they won the champ. He is lucky he took a pay cut because Ray allen wasnt gonna have anything to do with boston if he still keep his big head. Oh, maybe we should just let their game do the talking? Anyways, im a knicks fan and you know how much that has sucked up till late. I never liked the miami heat because they were always in the knicks way but now their in the rest of the leagues way and their is nothing anyone can do but sit back and watch their hopes be renewed or shatterd. I would also like to think in the next few years that the world is gonna see the best NBA ever. This is what history is all about.

    • john says:

      I agree, miami is just that good. Cleveland wasn’t no were near as good as miami is gonna be. As long as they all stay healthy miami wont need the luck that boston has had to make it.


    TMAC if healthy he could of been a part of alot of championship teams IF WE WANT TO PLAY THE IF GAME

    he played with YAO if YAO was healthy they could of pushed to the finals, he played with GRANT if healthy they could of made a push in the weaker east, HE who carry a curse called injury needs to stay away from well built teams and top players . ARENT WE ALL GLAD HE IS IN DETROIT lol

  3. gb1style says:

    It would have been a greater Big 3 than the Miami one
    check it!! T-Mac in 2000!!! The Grant Hill of Detroit (are you killin me)!!!!
    And Dream Tim the real leader the winning touch of that dreamy big 3!!!
    Was excited about tha in 2000!!!
    Sad it has not happened but understandable Duncan!!!
    Finally thanks it has not happened for so many teams : I mean the Nets the Pistons the Pacers the Sixers!!!!

  4. young lambo says:

    t-mac understands that the heat are good and they are a force to be reckoned with. lebron is a killer in the playoffs and so is the flash dwade. so why wouldnt those to on the same team work????

  5. Buddy Zabala says:

    Use your common sense guys. It’s obvious that the third person is Tim Duncan.

  6. Michael says:

    Yeah really, T-Mac & McGrady? Any other names we can find for McGrady? I can see now, how it’s so unsurprising that your “Big 3 that Never Happened”–never happened, as one of the main reasons (apparently, from your article) is that 2 out of the 3 are actually ONE person. Please, guys, a little professionalism?

    • daez says:

      Come on people, grow up. Obviously a typing fail. He means to say T-Mac, Grant Hill and Tim Duncan were free agents. Did you not read onto the next sentence where it says “Duncun re-signed with the Spurs”?

  7. gatez says:

    “And just by chance, T-Mac, Grant Hill and McGrady were free agents.”

    T-Mac and McGrady are different players? Who woulda known?

  8. carlos says:

    well sau t-mac ypur a great person and player…………………..i hope more people would think the way you did……….but they are jelaous of what the heat has and they scare of the team thast why all people always atack the heat