(rare photo of T-Mac standing upright during his Houston tenure)

Bad enough the Nets’ (temporary) home opener resulted in a thorough capitulation to Atlanta ; afterwards, the Hawks’ Tracy McGrady — no stranger to holding a franchise hostage — told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that Orlando’s Dwight Howard would be foolish to consider the Nets a more competitive option than staying put.

“I can’t see him coming here,” McGrady observed inside the visiting locker room at the Prudential Center. “If it’s just Dwight and D-Will, he’s better off just staying in Orlando. You want to go to a team that’s championship caliber, and just him and D-Will won’t get it done. There’s got to be other pieces around to make it look sweet.”

“D-Will is from Dallas,” McGrady said. “You’ve got Dirk Nowitzki there. They’re going to have [cap space] there. That looks sweet. Dirk. D-Will. And then you get Dwight Howard. That’s it, right there.”

As the original owner of a lifetime shoe deal with Adidas, a man with no championships, no glistening playoff legacy, McGrady rejects the idea that Howard ought to let his endorsement-earning power with the shoe company dictate anything about his desire to play for the Bulls. For Adidas, there’s far less of a return on Howard’s stardom to have him sharing the Chicago stage with the company’s biggest endorser, Derrick Rose.

“You’re going to have other endorsements because you’re playing in a big-ass city like Chicago, and because you’re [bleeping] Dwight Howard,” McGrady said.

And a Howard-Rose combination?

“Hell yes, championship,” McGrady said. “Championship. There’s no doubt about it.”