The Orlando Magic, winner of 59 regular-season games each of the last two seasons, revamped their roster this weekend rolling the dice in making deals with the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. Orlando sent Rashard Lewis to Washington for Gilbert Arenas and then swapped Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, cash considerations and a 2011 1st Round pick to Phoenix for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. Let's take a look at what these two blockbuster deals do for the three teams involved:
Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson remain as the only staples in the starting lineup, while drastically upping their payroll. Brandon Bass will move into the starting lineup at the 4-spot, while Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu will fill the voids left open on the perimeter. The Magic are improved offensively with Howard inside, Nelson running the point and then newcomers Turkoglu with his ability to shoot or drive the ball into the paint, Richardson dropping in shots from 3-point range and Arenas can still put up 20-30 points a night. Turkoglu enjoyed the best seasons of his career while playing with the Magic and although he is a few years older, there's no reason why he can't continue his success as the point-forward for Orlando. Arenas is expected to come off the bench behind Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson and immediately bolster the backcourt play.
On the other end of the court, the Magic's inadequacies are even more apparent with their best perimeter defender (Mickael Pietrus) and substitute interior defender (Marcin Gortat) shipped out to Phoenix.
Will these three new key pieces be able to adjust on the fly and produce instant results for the Magic who are currently in fourth place behind Boston, Miami and Chicago? These three should help Orlando get back into rhythm offensively where team scoring is down over six points per game and field-goal and three-point percentages are down from a year ago.
The Phoenix Suns got the size they desperately need by adding Marcin Gortat, plus some payroll relief by adding Vince Carter's "expiring contract" when he can be waived over the summer and be partially guaranteed less than a quarter of his $18.3 million dollar contract for 2011. The Suns also sent Hedo Turkoglu, a high-cost, low-result performer to Orlando.
Phoenix is one of the worst defensive teams in the league and just as bad hitting the glass, something Gortat can improve upon right away. Along with Robin Lopez returning, the Suns now have two effective centers to play the pick-and-roll with Steve Nash.
The Wizards are in the midst of changing their culture when they shipped Arenas to Orlando in exchange for Rashard Lewis. Best of all, Washington has Arenas' three-year, $62 million contract off the books, but they did take on Lewis' sizeable contract, investing $20 million a season in their new starting forward. Washington has to be pleasantly surprised that ridding themselves of Arenas' contract didn't cost them any picks or assets either.