Magic Roster Makeover: Trade Lands Gilbert Arenas, Brings Back Hedo Turkoglu
The Orlando Magic were dominating the NBA to begin the season, and then December came. Something has gone wrong for the Magic lately, and it has resulted in five losses over the last six games. We’ve known for a while that the Magic were interested in acquiring Gilbert Arenas, but we didn’t know they were going to blow up their roster to make it happen.
Pro Basketball Talk called our attention to a lot of dealing the Magic did on Saturday. First, Orlando sent Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus, and Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark. When that deal was finished, the Magic then traded Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards to get their boy Gilbert Arenas.
While the trade required the Magic to give up a lot of pieces, Orlando general manager Otis Smith wants to get his team back on track and winning right now. In the short term, I think he made the right moves. Assuming Arenas can improve upon his 39 percent shooting and stay on the court, he should provide a nice compliment to Jameer Nelson, who will have less ball-handling responsibility and be able to take more open shots. Richardson will bring his slasher mentality and three-point range, while Turkoglu — although older — can fill some of the void left by Lewis for the time being.
As for Phoenix, Steve Nash can’t be happy. Carter isn’t the player he used to be and the Suns were clearly trying to cut salary by trading Turkoglu and acquiring a first round pick. Nash said he didn’t think the Suns were a playoff team before the season began, so he can’t be pleased with the team’s most recent moves. A 36-year-old player on a team that has committed to rebuilding for the long term is not a good mix.