It’s only Mid-December and I think we’re seen the biggest trade of the 2010-11 season. It’s actually two separate trades that happened at pretty much the same time. All three teams get rid of their biggest problems but also take a lot of risks and assumptions going forward. Let’s break it down:
The Orlando Magic traded Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas. Then they traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and a 2011 1st round pick to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark.
Washington wants to give the keys to the franchise to John Wall and rid themselves of a player who brought guns to the locker room last year. That’s before we get into the fact that he’s been constantly injured and is under contract until 2014 where he will be making 22.3 million.
They take back Rashard Lewis who is having the worst season of his career (in his 1st full season after he gets busted for steroids…..interesting). He’s also making 23.7 million in 2013, the 2nd highest paid player in the NBA.
Lewis, while having a horrible season, has 1 year less on his contract and doesn’t have the extensive injury history and locker room problems that Arenas has. Washington is taking a gamble that a change of scenery will revive Lewis, they will have financial flexibility and the franchise is officially Walls.
Grade for Washington – B+
Lets be honest, Vince Carter isn’t exactly known for being clutch when it matters. Orlando gets rid of Vince and replaces him with Jason Richardson who’s having an amazing season. Even if he doesn’t fit in with the Magic his contract expires after this season while Vince still makes 18 million in 2012. Turkoglu is having a dreadful season, but the best years of his career were in Orlando so they are banking on him fitting in with the system right away and playing like he did two years ago when the Magic went to the finals. They lose Gortat who should be getting more playing time but is buried on the bench behind Howard and Bass, who is having an excellent season. They lose Pietrus, a good defender off the bench as well.
While I love getting rid of Lewis my concern is how Richardson and Arenas co-exist. Do one of them move to the bench (Arenas) or does Orlando go small with a lineup of Nelson, Arenas, Richardson, Turkoglu and Howard?
My grade depends on Arenas staying healthy, but overall I like this move for Orlando.
Grade for Orlando – A-
Carter is a downgrade over Richardson and they are taking on more salary. The Suns are in desperate need of a big man which they get in Gortat and the Suns only have 11 small forwards so adding Pietrus just makes sense. Turk had to go, he wasn’t producing at all in Phoenix so I like that move. Instead of blowing the team up the Suns are going all-in and hoping these moves get them to where they want to be.
Grade for Phoenix – B