I was really excited to work on and complete my NBA Rivalry Index, but it had to be interrupted for this. I don’t believe I have ever seen a team completely remodel their team all at once, mid-season and to boot it’s a team thats made two consecutive EC Finals appearance and one Finals appearances. If you haven’t heard, the Orlando Magic sent 4 of their players (2 starters) packing. Mikael Peitrus, Marcin Gortat, and Vince Carter were traded to Phoenix in exchange for Earl Clark, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jason Richardson, while Rashard Lewis was sent to Washington for Gilbert Arenas.
Honestly, I like this move. Sure it’s a gamble, but what they were doing wasn’t working. As good as Orlando has been, the ultimate goal for a franchise is the NBA title and they weren’t good enough to do that. So they kept their two best players, and switched up the supporting cast. Clearly they wanted to keep their strong 3-point game. This is going to make them faster and more athletic. Stan Van Gundy said that Jameer Nelson isn’t losing his starting job. Even if Arenas comes off the bench I agree with that decision. You have to have at least some continuity when you remodel your team. If they want to put their five best players out there then they could bench Quentin Richardson and have J-Rich at the 3, Hedo at the 4 then Arenas and Nelson in the back court, but then that puts a heavy reliance on Howard for their down low responsibilities. I think they should start Arenas, Nelson, Turkoglu Bass and Howard. J-Rich can provide a spark off the bench, like a more athletic Manu. These blockbuster trades are going to change Orlando position in the title hunt, for better or for worse.