Make It Or Break It
The Orlando Magic seemed to be a team destined for 50+ wins again this year. The Magic were deep and talented at every position. Then, GM Otis Smith looked out as his product and he made a bold decision.
Smith first traded C Marcin Gortat, G Vince Carter, F Michael Pietrus, their 2011 1st round pick and $3 million in cash to Phoenix for F Hedo Turkoglu, G Jason Richardson and F Earl Clark. He then traded F Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for G Gilbert Arenas. A lot of people are still wondering why these moves were made, but I will give you the main reasons as to why this trade was made.
The Magic were definitely a talented team, but with their roster before the trade, you couldn’t say that they could contend with the Lakers, Celtics, Heat or even the Bulls when at full strength. Vince Carter was more like half-sleep, half-playing than half-man, half amazing this year,Michael Pietrus had been struggling to find his role on this team and F Rashard Lewis had been going through one of his worst years statistically in recent years. Otis had to roll the dice. He couldn’t bank on these guys all of a sudden becoming the players they once were in the Magic uniform. The only player that I would not have traded would have been Gortat. He has done what has been asked of him and provided a good backup to Dwight Howard.
The Magic were also void of a closer on the offensive end. Of all the players they had left over and the players that got traded, which one of them could be counted on in end-game situations? With Turkoglu and Arenas you now have guys that have historically been big-shot makers in their careers.
And last but not least, the Magic lacked some toughness. Besides Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass, the Magic were a pretty soft team. Now I know Turkoglu isn’t the toughest of players, but Jason Richardson is a guy who lays it all on the line every night and Arenas is a tough competitor.
With this trade, there could be great things accomplished or there could be great failure. The Magic took a chance on Arenas and Turkoglu returning to their past glory. But also with this trade, the president has been set, the Magic and GM Otis Smith are in it for the ring this year.