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Magic Act

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 12/22/2010 11:47:34 AM

There is nothing wrong with being pro-active at times. The Orlando Magic last week pulled the trigger on a multiple player deal that could change the fortunes of a few teams so let’s project how the changes will present good future NBA wagers.

The scoop shakes out like this.

Orlando sent an aging Vince Carter, a big man project in Marcin Gortat and an intriguing player in Mickael Pietrus, a first-round 2011 pick and cash consideration to Phoenix.

While in return the Suns gave up a puzzling Hedo Turkoglu, the red-hot Jason Richardson, and the young Earl Clark.

In a side deal to be discussed later, the Washington Wizards ‘unloaded’ Gilbert Arenas for the Magic’s Rashard Lewis.

First the Magic. By losing Carter they lost basically nothing. He WAS a highlight film early in his career but he is extremely one dimensional and very inconsistent.

The caveat for the Suns is Gortat. He is a very serviceable back-up center. He did a good job spelling Dwight Howard when that guy was in foul trouble and even was left on the court at times with Howard.

He is still raw, but has upside if he is willing to improve.

Pietrus, also known as Air France, was born on an island that is part of France and this is not his first rodeo. He’s medalled in the European Championship, and won championships in the French league.

A tweener at 6-6, he’s not scared to D-up and he can shoot.

The Magic are gambling that Turkoglu will find his stroke, something that has been missing for years. He played poorly in Canada last year and looked absolutely lost in the Phoenix rotation.

Earl Clark needs minutes and confidence and he may not get either in Orlando. He’s is a big body, but very under developed mentally.

Jason Richardson was having an All-Star type year and he can flat out score. He’s put up 50 in this league, can jump out of the gym, is not shy on defense and when he is hot, he can put up 20 in a quarter easily.

Bottom line for this trade is the Suns need cash and they are in a re-building mode. They have a lot of guys on the roster that can play but the key is they have a maestro at the helm in Steve Nash.

If anybody can make this team roll, it will be the ability of Nash to make all around him better and the feeling is he will.

Look for the Suns still to be potent and surprise people and will probably by a lot better value against the spread as the year evolves.

As far as the Arenas for Lewis tradeoff, you have a major question as to if this is the same Gilbert Arenas of 2 or 3 years ago who could score at will and go to the hoop too.

Face it; Lewis has been a major disappointment. From a money standpoint, Washington will save over $30 million by getting out from a contract from a guy with questionable decision-making skills on and off the court.

The Wizards will pick up the $118 million contract (4th highest in the league) but he likely only has one more year on the paper.

As far as betting these two teams, here is how it may fall out. Lewis, who says he has been doubted his whole life, will be the big man on a bad team and he doesn’t like to bang or fight for anything other than an open outside jump shot.

The Magic are hoping that Arenas can be a go-to guy at crunch time and he’s proved over his career that he is not afraid to take, and make, some big shots. He is a shoot-first point and will likely take some minutes away from Jameer Nelson.

The bad news for Orlando fans is that they did not get any better on the defensive end, and that will tell in the post season.

The feeling at this point is that this trade will not really help any team. The Wizards may become a more potent against the spread team, but they are not going to make the playoffs and the Magic will not be able to beat the elite in the league in May and June because they didn’t build any defense momentum.


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