The Orlando Magic finally traded Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets.  The superstar McGrady had demanded a trade and a deal for Steve Francis had been discussed for the past several weeks.  It was completed Tuesday.

McGrady is the NBA's top scorer for the past two seasons and he will join forces with the 7'6" Yao Ming.  On paper, the duo is a formidable pairing, perhaps second only to the Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.  But with controversy brewing, the Laker tandem may not stay together for next season.

The complete trade:  Orlando will receive the all-star point guard Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato for McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines.

The trade establishes that Houston's future is now.  Under first-year head coach Jeff Van Gundy, the Rockets made the playoffs last season for the first time since 1999.  This year they will be expected to reach great heights.

Orlando preferred to keep McGrady but he made public his plans to opt out of his contract after next season.  The Magic had already lost Shaquille O'Neal to free agency with nothing in return, so Orlando's new general manager John Weisbrod had to make a move.