The Magic, however, may have made the moves that saved not only their season but prevented Dwight Howard from considering other locations. The moves that say, “we got your back.”
What the Magic had expected out of Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis (rank this under most ridiculous contract in NBA history), they did not get. Not even close. The big-time shooting ability that plagued Carter throughout his Toronto days followed him like a shadow to Orlando. Lewis lost his aggressiveness and turned into a three-point shooter that lost his shot. So the Magic made a game saving play. Ship 'em out!
Acquisitions: Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu (again), Gilbert Arenas, Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark, Malik Allen.
OK, so the latter four haven't been that influential. Q. Rich has some solid defensive capabilities but his poor production has resulted in very low minutes in recent games. Let's discuss what replacing Carter, Lewis, and Pietrus/Gortat with J. Rich, Turkoglu, and Arenas has done for the Magic:
J. Rich is what Carter was not. A three-point shooter that hasn't yet lost his legs, Nash turned (one of) Howard's clutch kick-out, and a more dangerous player to the basket. Eight years ago I only would have believed two of these things. Carter grew increasingly passive in Orlando and is (how can I put this lightly?) one of the worst clutch shooters of our time. I am still pleased Vinsanity is doing better in his new home of Phoenix.
Rashard Lewis made up half of a high-scoring duo with Ray Allen in Seattle and the upside of his game seemed limitless (hence, the contract). Like Carter, Lewis also turned passive. With Howard, Carter, and Nelson alongside him, Lewis lost his identity given his recent postings with Washington, this is the only explanation I have.
Whatever pixie dust the Magic have, they seem to use it all on Turkoglu. After mediocre runs with Toronto and Phoenix, Turkoglu is back in blue and as it seems, could not be happier. He is averaging a career high 6.2 assists, and his most rebounds/points/minutes in three years. His smug Turkish demeanor has clearly regained its flavor. The big time shot was never gone; the “Michael Jordan of Turkey” is now as clutch as his days in Sactown.
If that's not enough, why not add a three-time 25+ point scorer off the bench?
Gilbert Arenas is finally on a team that has a true title shot and he couldn't be happier. Sure, Agent Zero has had his problems but it certainly makes sense why the Magic would take a chance on such a weapon. Arenas fills out the Magic bench and can provide scoring down the stretch when necessary. He is older now and it was time that he took on a more appropriate role. For the Magic, it was an easy risk-reward decision.