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Thursday, June 1, 2000

Oak says T-Mac is gone

By CRAIG DANIELS -- Toronto Sun

Charles Oakley doesn't think free agent Tracy McGrady will be back in a Toronto uniform -- regardless of the current controversy surrounding Raptors coach Butch Carter.

And Oakley is equally convinced the Raptors will try to unload him via a trade before the June 28 draft.

"Charles and I believe Tracy will not be back with the team," Billy Diamond, Oakley's business manager, said yesterday.

"I don't think Butch Carter is going to have any impact one way or another."

Diamond was speaking out in the wake of revelations that Carter attempted to acquire McGrady's support in order to expand his responsibilities to include general manager. The attempt has widened the already considerable gulf between Carter and Oakley.

"There's obviously a conflict of personality," Diamond said. "Moreso this year than the past year, they seem to be incompatible.

"It's the Raptors prerogative to attempt a reconciliation. Charles loves the Toronto fans, the city, and his teammates. He would be crushed to leave."

But Diamond said he and Oakley continue to hear rumours that the Raptors think Oakley will negatively influence McGrady, and ultimately, Vince Carter's decision to re-sign with the team. Trade rumours have followed behind in quick succession.

"We think Tracy's decision has already been made," Diamond said.

"Charles is always in constant contact with both players. But just as Tracy had no impact on Charles decision to re-sign with Toronto (last summer), Charles has no impact on Tracy."

Diamond said he has heard that New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz and centre Jayson Williams are eager to acquire Oakley, who recently attended a barbecue at Williams' house.

"I also know that because of the relationship Charles has with Michael (Jordan, Wizards president and former Chicago Bulls teammate) that Washington would love to have him.

"And Phoenix also needs front-line help."