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Did The Orlando Magic Mortgage Their Franchise With Their Recent Blockbuster Trade?

Submitted by on December 21, 2010 – 9:46 amNo Comment

In the NBA, there’s a new team that’s ready to challenge the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat for supremacy. Well, actually, it’s an old team with a new look.

Over the weekend, the Orlando Magic completed a three-team deal that landed them Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, a draft pick and a pile of cash and received Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rashard Lewis. In theory, this adds some much-needed firepower to the Magic’s offense and should give them a boost, seeing as how the team just lost six out of seven games and needs to start winning ASAP to stay in the hunt in the suddenly-crowded Eastern Conference.

However, does anyone else feel like the Magic might have hit the panic button a little too quickly? Shouldn’t they have given their current team a little bit more time to prove themselves this season? Did they just risk the future of the franchise by making a blockbuster trade that could easily come back to bite them later? Yes, yes and a resounding yes. See why after this short clip that breaks down the details of the trade.

1. The Magic are in second place in their division and currently have the fourth best record in the East—so why panic now?

If you want to talk about NBA disappointments, let’s talk about the New Jersey Nets, the Portland Trailblazers or even the Sacramento Kings. Those are teams that are legitimately out of playoff contention already—just a little under two months after the season started—and looking for answers. The Magic, on the other hand, were going through a slump before they made their blockbuster trade. It happens. It builds character. And working through it would have helped the Magic later on.

2. Gilbert Arenas isn’t really an answer at this point in his career, is he?

After two knee surgeries, Arenas has definitely lost a step. And while he’s probably still capable of putting up decent offensive numbers, much of Arenas’s success a few years ago can be traced back to the fact that he had the ball in his hands a lot of the time and could be trusted to make the right decision with it. In Orlando, he’ll need to be a role player who contributes off the bench and takes what he can get. He says he is—but is he really ready to step into that role? Time will tell, but for now, it doesn’t seem like the best solution.

3. And, oh yeah: Don’t forget about Gilbert’s contract!

Aside from his abilities on the court, Arenas is also a liability to the Magic because of the massive 6-year, $111 million contract he inked with the Wizards back in 2008. Granted, Rashard Lewis—who they traded to the Wizards—also had a massive contract (though, for the record, that mistake happened on the Magic’s watch) but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Arenas gets injured again and ends up being a financial disaster for the Magic. If that happens, it could really set the franchise back and make Magic center/All-Star Dwight Howard reconsider whether he wants to continue playing with the team, which would be disastrous.

4. The team won’t see the benefits of the trade for another two or three months.

Take a look at how difficult it’s been for the Miami Heat to catch fire this season. Sure, they’re on a 12-game winning streak now, but it took them almost two months to gel as a team. The Magic will have to start that process now, and there’s also no guarantee that they’ll ever gel as a unit. With the old Magic, you knew what you were getting. With this team, coach Stan Van Gundy will have to work to build the team’s chemistry back up. And they don’t have a summer to work together to get ready. They have to start now. Mark my words: That will be difficult.

5. The trade still doesn’t make them the frontrunners in the East.

If anything, the trade could make people question whether the Magic have a legitimate shot at making another run to the Eastern Conference Finals. They’re not better than the Celtics right now and thanks to the whole chemistry thing, they’re also not better than the Heat anymore. If you’re going to make a trade like the one the Magic just did, you want it to pay off immediately. Instead, it just means the Magic may need a few tricks of their own to turn their season around. Let’s hope they didn’t just ruin the rest of their season.

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