Sunday, December 19, 2010

A look at the Magic/Suns/Wizards trade

The NBA gave us sports fans an early Christmas present on Saturday in the form of a blockbuster trade. If you have yet to hear (or live in a hole), there were two separate trades, all involving major contributors from the Suns, Magic, and Wizards. Here is the breakdown of the trades:
Trade #1 -

Magic Receive:
G Jason Richardson
F Hedo Turkoglu
F Earl Clark

Suns Receive:
G Vince Carter
G/F Mickael Pietrus
F/C Marcin Gortat
2011 First round draft pick

I like this trade for Orlando a lot. They get Jason Richardson, who is an athletic wing player that can slash and finish, as well has spread the floor with the three. Richardson is shooting the three at a 42% clip, which is the best of his career, he is also averaging a very respectable 19 points per contest. J-Rich is a much needed improvement over Carter in more ways than one. Not only is Richardson producing at a much better rate with stats, but he is also cheaper, and four years younger.

Another great acquisition is Hedo Turkoglu. Turk is a 6-10 playmaker who played very well for the Magic from 2004-09, and helped lead them reach the 2009 NBA Finals, which they eventually lost to the Lakers. After that disappointing loss, the Magic elected to not match an offer made to Turkoglu by the Toronto Raptors. The decision to not resign Turkoglu surprised a lot of people including me, as he was the main catalyst in a very potent Magic offense. Orlando now brings him back, hoping that he can provide the same production that he gave them for over five years earlier this decade, averaging 16 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. Look for Turkoglu to start, and play the same role that he did during his first stint with the Magic.

Earl Clark is a rarely used second year player who will most likely fill a seat on the bench, or be sent down to the D-League to develop. Clark does have some upside, however, in college he was used much like Turkoglu will be used with Orlando. Clark was a do-everything player for Rick Pitino at Louisville.

Overall, I think this trade makes Orlando a much more dangerous team on offense, but defense is a different story. Both Turkoglu and Richardson are more commonly known for their prowess on offense, but not on defense. If the offense is clicking on all cylinders, Dwight Howard can shore up the defense enough to get wins, but if it's not, it will be a long season for the Magic.

Looks like Robert Sarver decided that with the departure of Amar'e Stoudemire via free agency, his Suns needed to rebuild. The 33 year-old Carter's nearly 18 million dollar expiring contract will give the Suns tons of cap room and flexibility this off-season, but it may have come too late, as "The Decision" has already been made. Carter is amidst the worst statistical production of his career, but he can still play the game at a high level. Carter will be a focal part of the high tempo attack the Suns deploy, and if he plays well, Phoenix could still make the playoffs.

Pietrus is a guy who is known for his three point shooting, and defense. He is 28 years-old, and relatively cheap for what he can bring to the floor at $5.3 million this season. Pietrus is experiencing a down year so far this season, mostly due to knee problems, he has played in 19 games, averaging 6.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and shooting 39% from behind the arc. When healthy, I believe Pietrus will be a very good player in the Suns system.

Gortat, a former second round pick of the Suns, was a coveted free agent this past off-season. He received a five year $34 million offer from the Mavericks, but because he was restricted, the Magic decided to match that offer, and Gortat was retained. The "Polish Hammer" has never been a starting center in the NBA, but he has shown the skill and defensive capabilities that could make him a very serviceable option in the Suns system. At 26 years-old, Gortat is young, and doesn't have a lot of miles on him. I think that this is a great chance for him to show his true capabilities. Good move for Phoenix.

If the Suns can make something out of Carter's expiring contract, I would rule this as a very good trade. The window for a championship in Phoenix shattered as Amar'e slammed the door behind him on his way to New York. The next move for the Suns is to move Nash, as hard as that may be, or as crazy as it sounds, if you are going to rebuild, you must commit to it 100%.

The second deal didn't involve as many players, but it did make just as big of a splash amongst the sports world. Here is a breakdown of the trade between the Magic and the Wizards:

Wizards Receive:
F Rashard Lewis

Magic Recieve:
G Gilbert Arenas

Washington's decision to rid themselves of Arenas comes as no surprise. They have their point guard of the future in John Wall, and it seems like "Agent Zero" brought nothing but problems. Lewis has seen a serious drop in his production this season, he is only averaging 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and shooting 36% from behind the arc. Lewis will immediately be inserted into the Wizards starting lineup, and should see a spike in his production. Lewis will be able to spread the floor for John Wall, and he doesn't have too many players fight for looks with. Not only can Lewis bring much of the same game as Arenas (other than ball handling), but he will save Washington a considerable amount of money over the life of his contract; he will also save them a lot of headaches.

I'm greatly confused as to how Arenas will fit in with Orlando. Stan Van Gundy has already guaranteed Jameer Nelson a starting spot, so where does that leave Gilly? I am assuming the starting lineup will be Nelson, Richardson, Turkoglu, Bass, and Howard. We all know the great scoring Arenas can bring, but we have also seen the problems that ensue if he doesn't get his way. Coming off the bench is not the way of the Hibachi, and he wont hesitate to let his thoughts and feelings be known. If Arenas can keep his cool, and understand his role, sixth man of the year, and a trip to the NBA Finals could be in his future.

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