A few days ago, Alex Kennedy of Hoops World reported that the Orlando Magic, with hopes of acquiring another superstar to pair up with Dwight Howard, are interested in the services of Phoenix Suns' point guard Steve Nash. No trade is imminent, but Kennedy states that Magic GM Otis Smith will take an "aggressive" approach in his pursuit of the Western Conference All-Star.
Despite filling the role of "Robin" to Howard's "Superman" (Alright, I may have mixed up my comics), Nash is definitely not the option the Orlando Magic should pursue.
First of all, the Orlando Magic have already been down this path. Due to being unsuccessful in their early attempts at drafting a second superstar in the mid-2000s, GM Otis Smith has been forced to acquire veterans through trades and free agency.
Smith's first attempt at finding Howard a running mate was the signing of veteran Rashard Lewis to a monster six-year, $118 million contract back in 2007. In his first few seasons with Orlando, Lewis proved to be a capable scorer. However, Lewis became too much of a defensive liability and Orlando shipped him to the Washington Wizards last year for the infamous Gilbert Arenas. Arenas would also fail in becoming the team's second star.
Orlando's second attempt came in the form of a trade with the New Jersey Nets when the Magic traded Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee for former UNC star Vince Carter and the young Ryan Anderson. Even though Carter was once considered the prime heir to Michael Jordan's throne, Vinsanity never lifted off in Orlando, as his time with the Magic was marred with poor shot selection and lackadaisical defense.
In fact, Ryan Anderson has become the major steal in that deal, as the former California star is having an All-Star caliber season.
Should Orlando Pursue Steve Nash?
The Magic's third try at acquiring another star to pair with Howard was last trade deadline when the team acquired Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu from the Suns. Richardson was having a fantastic year with Phoenix until he was dealt, as the former Michigan State star was averaging nearly 20 points per game. Once traded to Orlando, the veteran Richardson's points per game average dropped four points.
Hedo Turkoglu, on the other hand, has already had one stint with the Magic. In his first tenure with the team, Turkoglu broke out and even won the NBA Most Improved Player Award. The Turkish forward performed the pick-and-roll with precision, nailed open three-pointers left and right and even established himself as one of the most clutch players in the league.
However, his second time in Orlando has not been quite as pleasant. There is no doubt that Turkoglu has lost a step and has become a liability on defense. Plus, Turkoglu is averaging only 11 points per game this season.
In the end, by acquiring an elder statesman like Steve Nash, GM Otis Smith will be ignoring Orlando's recent history. Sure, Nash is head and shoulders a better player than all of the aforementioned athletes, but there is no denying that the 38-year-old Nash is on the downside of his legendary career.
Despite leading the league in assists with 11 per game, the elder Nash is averaging his lowest points per game total since the 1999-00 season with 13.7. That was a more than a decade ago.
In addition, Nash has always been a questionable defender, even in his prime. With Orlando, he would potentially have to face up against athletic guards Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague and Jeremy Lin.
Instead, Orlando should aggressively pursue the other player the team has been linked to, Monta Ellis. Ellis brings two qualities that the Orlando Magic desperately need: athleticism and youth. Ellis, who is putting up 22 points per night, may not be an All-Star or household name, but the 26-year-old would be the perimeter scorer that Orlando has been searching for.
Nonetheless, the Orlando Magic should learn from their mistakes and, instead, try to acquire a star who will thrive in O-Town for years to come.
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