NBA Trade: Magic Get Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu & Jason Richardson
The Orlando Magic have finalized two blockbuster trades, the first sending center Martin Gortat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick, and $3 million to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark.
When the Heat formed the Miami 3:16 in July, Magic brass was outspoken and opinionated about the move. General manager Otis Smith made some very public and questionable comments about LeBron’s defection, and cocksure declarations that he was happy with the Magic roster, as well his teams place among the Eastern Conference elite.
After a 15-4 start out the gates, which included a victory over the Heat, Magic faithful were optimistic about their chances.
But after losing five of their last six, and with Dwight Howards calling out his teammates for their defensive effort, it became glaringly apparent that a move needed to be made.
Trading away a high-quality backup center, an explosive wing player, and a future Hall of Famer for Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu wasn’t what most expected, and only time will tell how the trade works out for Orlando…..
Turkoglu was an integral part of the Magic’s 09’ run to the NBA Finals, and is comfortable in the playmaking role within Stan Van Gundy’s system.
The Magic let Hedo go for nothing during last summer’s free-agency, only to turn around and give up a first-round pick and cash as part of the package to trade for him.
Phoenix got significantly better, as Gortat, Pietrus and Carter will flourish playing alongside Steve Nash.
Pietrus is an upgrade over Richardson, and will fill up the stat sheet with more minutes and opportunity.
Gortat may be one of the top 20 centers in the NBA, and solidifies the weakest area of the Suns lineup.
Make no mistake about it, this trade was about the Magic appeasing Dwight Howard, making the necessary adjustments to keep him around after 2012.
Howard can opt-out after next season, but it’s surprising that the Magic are blowing up the core of a team that won 110 games the past two seasons.
While Turkoglu’s transition should be seamless, Richardson without Steve Nash to set him up, is basically Vince Carter. He’s a good three-point shooter and scorer, but not a tremendous upgrade.
The second deal will send forward Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards straight up for Gilbert Arenas.
The trade reunites Arenas with Magic general manager Otis Smith, mentor and friend of Gilbert’s since his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors.
Arenas has four years and $60 million left on his Wizards deal, a number very few teams were willing to take on, and the ill-effects of 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the Wizards locker room following him.
He knew his days were numbered in the District, as the rapid development of No.1 overall pick John Wall all but sealed his fate.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis had reiterated that the team was not looking to trade Arenas in recent weeks, but Friday talks reached a fever pitch.
The Wizards take on Rashard Lewis and the remaining three years and $66 million remaining on his deal, and underachieving production.
Once thought of as an immoveable contract, Lewis’s final year of his deal is only partially guaranteed.