Orlando Magic General Manager John Weisbrod fled his home last week after receiving death threats, including one written on the front door of his house, from someone angered over his decision to trade Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets last week.

Orlando police have launched an investigation.

Weisbrod, who took over management of the 21-61 team this past season, discovered one of the threats taped to his front door on June 17, according to the newspaper Florida Today.

At the time, it was widely believed that the Magic sought to trade McGrady, an all-star and the NBA's leading scorer the past two seasons.

On June 30, the day the Magic officially announced that it had sent McGrady to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis as part of a seven-player trade, Weisbrod found another threat written on a glass section of his front door, according to the paper.

"I get harassing correspondence all the time, but when it starts happening at your house, that raises the bar to a different level," Weisbrod told Florida Today. "Getting e-mails is one thing, but when they start writing on your house with paint, that's totally different.

"I guess this is kind of par for the course. The trade was an emotional issue and a public issue, but really you wouldn't think it would have gone this far. But I guess there are always going to be wackos out there."

Weisbrod checked into a hotel under an alias.

McGrady and Weisbrod, a former professional hockey player, have engaged in a war of words since the trade. McGrady, one of the NBA's most popular players, has questioned Weisbrod's competence. Weisbrod, 35, has criticized McGrady's work ethic and competitiveness.

The Magic declined to comment, other than to say the matter "is in the hands of the authorities."

The Magic also announced yesterday that it had signed Dwight Howard, the team's first-round draft pick (No. 1 overall). Terms of the deal were not disclosed but under the league's rookie wage scale, the 6-foot-11 Howard, one of the nation's top high school players last season, is eligible to earn $11.2 million for three years.

-- Greg Sandoval

WEISBROD