The two highest paid players in their respective sports threw hissy fits and were sent home. One will play today; one might not play again. Want to guess which is which? (Hint: the one who's actually still good will play.)
Let's start with Albert Haynesworth, who signed a shiny new contract in February. Dan Snyder, in his infinite wisdom, gave him the most guaranteed money in the history of the league. It took less than a full season for Haynesworth to launch a mutiny.
It's been building for months, but Haynesworth is unhappy with defensive coordinator Greg Blache's system. He thinks he's wasted in it, not being given the green light to "create havoc." He let the world know his thoughts after last week's embarrassment on national TV, then showed up late to a team meeting on Christmas morning.
If they keep this system the way it is, then they would label Albert Haynesworth a bust who didn't live up to the contract," Haynesworth said. "Everybody would say he just took the money and ran off. And I'm still playing as hard as I possibly can. But you can only do so much within the system that's put around you. And I'm not talking about the players. The players have been great. I couldn't ask for any better guys. I'm talking about the system.
Told to go home, Haynesworth strolled out to practice and had a 10-minute argument with Jim Zorn in full view of the media. After being sent home, rumors emerged that he had tried to organize a boycott of practice among his teammates — a report he denied.
But all's well for now, because Haynesworth's guaranteed a ton of money over the next few years and Zorn's all but guaranteed to be out — along with Blache and the coaching staff.
Let's move to Houston, where Tracy McGrady is unhappy with his playing time. McGrady is making $23 million this year, which is insane. Insane that it's so much money, and insane that Isiah Thomas wasn't somehow involved.
It's not that Rick Adelman doesn't want to give the ostensibly healthy T-Mac more minutes. He just doesn't want to do it at the expense of another, better player's minutes. So while they bicker, the team sent McGrady home from the Rockets' road trip.
I'm a player, man," McGrady, 30, said. "I don't make these decisions. I just abide by whatever they bring to me. That's the plan. I'm not going to argue and fight with them - just run with it. I felt it was time (to increase the routine of playing seven to eight first-half minutes). I'm not going to cause any confusion or confrontations. As a player, that's what I felt. They obviously feel different. That's what I have to roll with."
In what's basically a redux of the Allen Iverson situation, McGrady's not going to get any more playing time in Houston, and he'll want out. His expiring contract appears irresistible, but literally no team can afford to fit him under the cap.
So Albert Haynesworth will start tonight, and suck it up for the next week. Tracy McGrady, however, might want to take up knitting, or some such hobby to keep him occupied while riding the pine.
Haynesworth Sounds Off On Blache, Defense After Being Sent Home [WaPo]
T-Mac Sits Until He Can Be Worked In [Houston Chronicle]