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Don't Count On McGrady

The 76ers have investigated the availability of Tracy McGrady, but a deal for the Houston Rockets' one-time star seems highly unlikely.

Let's get this out of the way before the 76ers face the Sacramento Kings tonight:

The Sixers have spoken with Houston Rockets' executives about Tracy McGrady, rehabbing from major knee surgery. More than once.

The Rockets didn't seem interested in a deal involving Samuel Dalembert, and they still aren't. They wanted no part of Dalembert's 15 percent trade kicker, and they still don't.

At the same time, even though McGrady ($23 million salary) and the Rockets have agreed to part ways, there's no law that says the Rockets have to trade him. They could just let his $23 million contract expire at the end of this season and deduct it from their payroll.

Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski says what you expect him to say: "We talk to all the teams on a regular basis, but I won't talk about players and trades. We are looking at any and all options that might improve the team.''

Who knows what any other team might be offering for McGrady? But there is this from Rockets coach Rick Adelman, to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle: "The thing people want to write about is who (McGrady) was two years ago. He isn't that right now. We have a whole team. It's not just about what he wants or what he was going to want. It was about what can he do to help us win.''

Bottom line: The Sixers are exploring ways to improve their team.

So are the Rockets.

But don't count on them doing business with each other.