It’s tough being the Orlando Magic. The Boston Celtics are like their older sibling in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics players collectively are older, more experienced, more successful, and have been playing together longer as a unit. The Miami Heat are like the younger sibling. They are new and exciting and even casual basketball fans are watching their every move to see how they grow. Then we have Orlando, stuck in the middle, crying “hey hey, pay attention to me, I’m here too!!” while the older and younger brothers are riding high and getting all of the praise and attention with 13 and 12 game win streaks respectively. So like many kids with “middle child syndrome” just fighting for some love, the Magic acted out in the most rebellious of ways and shook the core of their roster with a couple of blockbuster trades.
You could sense that the pressure was building in Orlando with their good but not great 16-10 record and an increasingly unhappy superstar in Dwight Howard. We all knew that some kind of move was gonna happen, but the magnitude of it was certainly unexpected. For Orlando (Gained: Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Earl Clark. Lost: Rashard Lewis,Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus), anyone who is inclined to gamble would not hesitate to bet money on the fact they are not done dealing and will try to acquire some size to either pair with or backup Dwight Howard and possibly some defensive help along with it. If they don’t make more moves this trade would be downright puzzling. Division rival Miami Heat’s glaring weakness is their lack of size and power. One of the Magic’s major advantages was its size, height, and depth at the center and forward positions. Marcin Gortat had been a very valuable talent in the playoffs when filing in for Superman and his loss will be felt. Not pursing another trade for one or more big men would be catastrophic come playoff time, since the Celtics have a roster of giants, and playing down to the Heat’s size without capable perimeter defenders is about as sound a strategy as stealing their sneakers.
On the positive side, getting Hedo Turkoglu back represents the kind of second chance most teams wish they had and don’t get. He was an absolutely integral part of their last Finals run and they obviously missed him and the matchup problems he presents in last years playoffs. It remains to be seen how they will integrate Gilbert Arenas in with Jameer Nelson, but J-Rich should provide some good scoring punch, that is if he is not just a temporary rental for a future trade. If The Baller Guru had to grade this trade for the Magic, it would be an incomplete, since common sense says another trade is coming for some size.
While we’re grading, the Phoenix Suns (Gained: Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus. Lost: Hedo Turkoglu , Jason Richardson, Earl Clark) get an A+ for their role in the trade since not only do they not lose any offensive production – Vince Carter’s stats could easily replace Jason Richardson’s – on top of that they got a talented big man in Gortat that they sorely desperately needed, and a very capable wing defender and shooter in Pietrus. The Washington Wizards deserve an A as well for their part, since they finally can move on from the shadow of Agent Zero and can build toward the future with John Wall, while pairing him with Rashard Lewis’s talents very nicely.
So the middle child Magic got some attention after all and are the talk of the league just like they had hoped. Now they are stockpiled with talent at every position and then some, and will probably continue to tweak/upgrade before February. Whether it all works out remains to be seen but at least the Magic can be happy that they will be part of the conversation at the Eastern Conference family dinner table.
Tags: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Marcin Gortat, Miami Heat, Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Rashard Lewis, Trades, Vince Carter, Washington Wizards
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