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NBA Preview: Orlando Magic Could've Kept Up with Miami by Trading Vince Carter

BOSTON - MAY 28:  Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic looks on from the bench dejected after they lost 96-84 against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 28, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2010

The summer of 2010 is over and fall is officially upon us. The football season is in full swing, baseball playoffs are approaching, and this week, every NBA team will be in training camp. The next few months constitute the best time of the year to be a sports fan.

Thanks to a free-agent class led by LeBron James, the NBA has stayed in the headlines throughout the offseason. As we all know, he is now a part of a "Big 3" in Miami that most people feel is nearly unbeatable. Most experts expect the Heat to run away with the Southeast Division and the entire Eastern Conference.

So what about the team that has won that division in each of the past three seasons? How could the Orlando Magic possibly maintain their dominance in the Southeast, when their in-state rival may have just assembled one of the greatest trios of all-time?

With Orlando's current roster, winning a fourth-straight division title looks like a long shot at best. What could they have done this offseason to have a shot at staying on top of this now stacked division?

A few months back, the Magic discussed a possible trade with the Washington Wizards. Washington looked to be ready to move on from Gilbert Arenas and all the controversy that has come with him. They drafted potential superstar John Wall to play the position that Arenas has occupied for years.  

Orlando did not get the production they had expected from Vince Carter. A straight-up swap of these two players would be possible since their salaries match.

If Orlando could've made this trade happen they'd be in a much better position to compete with Miami.

Arenas issues would've been significantly less visible on a veteran team like Orlando. He would start at point guard with J.J. Redick in the backcourt with him. Redick's stats per 36 minutes last season were not much lower than Carter's. Believe it or not, at this point in Carter's career, he is not much of an upgrade over Redick.

At the forward positions, Stan Van Gundy would be wise to move Rashard Lewis back to his natural small forward position and start Ryan Anderson at power forward. Anderson averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per 36 minutes last season. On top of that, he shot 37 percent from three-point range. The matchup problems these two 6'10" sharpshooters would create would be reminiscent of when the Magic had Hedo Turkoglu.

Then of course, Dwight Howard would still start at center. We all know what he provides for the Magic and I expect to see a lot of improvement from him on offense.

Their bench would be very deep with Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon, Mickael Pietrus, Quentin Richardson, Brandon Bass, and Marcin Gortat.

Miami, and every other team, would have a very difficult time trying to cover the three-point line against Arenas, Redick, Lewis, and Anderson. Arenas would have better teammates to pass the ball to then he's ever had before.

The Magic need to revisit this possibility if they want to keep up with the Miami Heat.

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