The Orlando Magic capped a blockbuster day of wheeling and dealing by trading one franchise cornerstone for another, sending Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas, team sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard on Saturday.
The Magic, losers of five of their last six games, also get Jason Richardson and Earl Clark from the Suns in exchange for Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash considerations.
The Arenas-Lewis deal doesn't include other pieces, the sources told Broussard
There's no question that Dwight Howard had a large role in these two deals being made, with multiple sources claiming that the Magic center isn't too pleased with the way the team has played this season.
With these two trades, I think the Magic have clearly become the second best team in the Eastern Conference.
In this trade, the Magic acquired two great three-point shooters and another playmaker in former Orlando Magic Turkoglu.
There's no question this makes the Magic a much better team, because
they really didn't give that much for the pieces they received.
Let's breakdown how everyone's stock looks after this trade, and what the Magic's new starting lineup could look like:
His best days are far behind him, and he's continued to rely on his
jump-shot instead of utilizing his plus-athleticism.
Carter's averaging a career-worst 15.1 PPG, but has shot a career-best
47% from the floor -- however, he's also shot just 12 times per game,
which is the least amount of shots he's ever taken. When the Magic
acquired him two summers ago, they were expecting him to be the
playmaker they lost in Turkoglu, but he hasn't been the playmaker they
wanted at a consistent level.
Carter, whose deal expires after this season, will give the Phoenix Suns some flexibility money-wise.
With all blockbusters, there's some risk involved; in this one, it's in the form of Gilbert Arenas. He has never played under a top-tier coach, but he will get his chance in Orlando to play for Stan Van Gundy.
SVG expects the players to play hard for him defensively, and let's just say that's not one of Arenas' strong suits. It's going to be interesting to see how he'll fare under SVG, but there's no question he gives the Magic more production than Carter.
Getting rid of his deal, which is the second largest in the NBA, helped the Magic shed some salary. Lewis gave the Magic a good shooter to surround Howard with, but he just couldn't get it done during playoff time. A prime example: shot 19 for 56 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
He will give the Wizards another shooter, but I don't ever expect him to return to his Seattle Sonics days.
Speaking of shooting, the Magic will also get sharp-shooter Jason Richardson from the Suns. He's averaging 19.3 PPG this season, his highest since the 2007-08 season. With a 37.2% career three-point percentage, he will give the Magic yet another shooter to space the floor for Howard.
Richardson will eventually make the biggest impact on the Magic, I think, because he can do so much offensively -- from shooting three's to taking it to the rim; it will give the Magic another weapon come playoff time.
He's been in SVG's doghouse numerous times during his three years in Orlando. Although he's simply a standstill three-point shooter offensively, Pietrus gives the Magic some very good perimeter defense.
Losing him won't break the Magic's season by any stretch of the imagination, but they were already lacking any type of perimeter lockdown defender before this trade; their defense will certainly take a step back after this trade.
Pietrus will get an opportunity to start in Phoenix at some point, and this will give him the chance he has been pleading for the past couple seasons.
Gortat is a starting-caliber center in the NBA, and he will certainly get his shot in Phoenix, who have a very small team as it is.
Gortat never got much burn while playing behind the league's best center, so now we'll see how Gortat will do with extended minutes on a nightly basis.
Clark was simply a throw-in player in this deal. However, he was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Louisville and is just 22 years old.
I don't see Clark getting any type of minutes on a contending Magic team, but being as young as he is, he will certainly get some kind of chance over the next few seasons.
What could Orlando's starting five look like
The Magic will likely bring Jason Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu off the bench at first, but I could also see Jameer Nelson being shifted to the bench early on, too.
It's tough to gauge what Orlando might do with the starting lineup, but I can't see a situation where Turkoglu is their starting power forward. He was tried as one in Phoenix, and that clearly didn't work as he failed to rebound at an adequate level or defend other PF's.
Final thoughts on the trade
Overall, the Magic have definitely revamped their team and I expect them to be the clear number two seed by season's end. The added playmakers and shooters will give the Magic more weapons against the contending teams -- Carter and Lewis simply weren't getting it done, so the Magic acted quick and got players in there who will get it done.
How it effects the Bulls
Most realistic Bulls fans knew that the Orlando Magic were just a notch ahead of them, so this only solidifies it.
I expected the Bulls to finish as a 3rd or 4th seed a few weeks ago, but with the Miami Heat's play the past couple weeks, a 4th seed seems most realistic.
This move doesn't directly effect the Bulls short-term -- the regular season -- but it certainly may come playoff time.