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NBA Trade Deadline: Grading the Orlando Magic's Trade Assets

Hunter KonsensCorrespondent IIFebruary 22, 2011

NBA Trade Deadline: Grading the Orlando Magic's Trade Assets

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    Gilbert Arenas, Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard, and Earl ClarkMarc Serota/Getty Images

    As the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, every team in the league is taking stock of what assets they can utilize to give them the best chance for future victory. Some teams are looking to rebuild, like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, while others are looking to put the final piece in place to make them be able to contend this postseason. The Orlando Magic fall under the latter category. 

    Otis Smith, who is the Orlando Magic's President of Basketball Operations, has stated numerous times that he believes the current team has the talent to bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. However, the Knicks' recent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and rumors that team superstar Dwight Howard may be interested in bolting from Orlando. 

    The addition of 'Melo in the East may officially have pried the title of hardest conference away from the West. As of right now, the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and New York Knicks are all capable of knocking the Magic out of the playoffs and winning the NBA Finals.

    However, Otis Smith has become a fantastic poker player when it comes to trades, as he does not even give the slightest hint that one may materialize. For instance, the trade that acquired Vince Carter from the New Jersey Nets took everyone by surprise. Hopefully, a few trades do occur, as the Magic have some giant holes in their rotation. They are very weak at the back-up center slot, and they do not currently have a player that can excel at creating his own shot. Plus, their mid-season acquisitions of Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson have not exactly worked out as planned. 

    If the Magic are not capable of contending this post-season than this could force Dwight Howard to pursue options outside of Orlando, and this would not be the first time the Magic fan-base lost their prodigious center. 

Quentin Richardson

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    Quentin RichardsonMarc Serota/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: C+

    Position: Small Forward/ Shooting Guard

    Age: 30

    Contract: He is currently signed on a mid-level contract through the 2013/14 season at an average annual salary of 2.536 million dollars. The final year has a player option.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 4.9

    RPG: 3.4

    APG: .8

    Quentin Richardson was signed last offseason to fill the major hole that former Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes had created when he opted to sign with Los Angeles. The logic behind the signing made sense, as Orlando's offense heavily relies on deadly shooters like Richardson. However, he has not adapted to Orlando's play style as well as they had hoped. One of the main reasons for this is that he is hitting a career low 29.7 percent from three-point land. 

    He started the season as the undisputed starter on the team, but Head Coach Stan Van Gundy quickly realized that this was not going to work out. Even though he proved to be a reliable defender, he struggled on the offensive side of the ball with his lack of play-making ability. Plus, the additions of Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu have lowered his minutes immensely. 

    Verdict: There are numerous championship-caliber teams that are looking for a back-up wing player. For instance, the Boston Celtics could be suitors, as they may have lost back-up Marquis Daniels for the season. However, I don't see the Magic moving him before the deadline. 

Chris Duhon

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    Chris DuhonSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: C

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Contract: He is currently signed on a mid-level contract through 2013/14 for a annual 3.5 million dollars.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 2.6

    RPG: 1.0

    APG: 2.3

    Another offseason acquisition that did not work out as planned. Gilbert Arenas started the season as the back-up to Jameer Nelson, which bumped former back-up Jason Williams to third string. However, he has struggled mightily throughout the season. It seems as if he looks timid on the court, especially verse top caliber teams. Plus, mid-season acquisition Gilbert Arenas has eaten up almost all of his minutes.

    Verdict: I don't see any team wanting to pursue Chris Duhon, as it is a lengthy, expensive contract for a third-string point guard. But they may be able to package him in a deal and unload this cumbersome commitment.

Malik Allen

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    Malik AllenSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: D-

    Position: Power Forward/Center

    Age: 32

    Contract: Minimum contract worth 1.35 million dollars.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 1.5

    RPG: 1.8

    APG: .3

    There is not much of a market for a below-average rebounding power forward with offensive liabilities like Malik Allen. The plus side is that he brings a veteran presence to a young Orlando Magic team.

    Verdict: The only way he could be moved before the deadline is if he is required to help match the salaries in a trade.

Earl Clark

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    Earl ClarkSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: C

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 23

    Contract: Rookie Contract

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 4.4

    RPG: 2.3

    APG: .3

    Earl Clark has rejuvenated his career since making the transition from Phoenix to Orlando. Often over-looked in the trade that brought Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, Earl Clark has solidified himself in the rotation, and is showing some of the potential that he exhibited at Louisville. His game resembles that of Jeff Green's or Lamar Odom's, as he can do it all even with his tall stature. 

    Verdict: I would love to see the Magic retain him, as he could possibly develop into a caliber starter. However, the emergence of Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass have decreased his value with the Magic. They may want to swap him with a true center with some veteran presence. 

Ryan Anderson

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    Ryan AndersonSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: B

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Contract: Rookie contract through 2011/12

    Stats this season

    PPG: 10.9

    RPG: 5.2

    APG: .6

    If there is one player that has benefited from the Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas swap it is Ryan Anderson. Before this season he was an over-looked piece that was acquired in the trade with the New Jersey Nets two years ago when we received Vince Carter. Now he is one of the most productive players on the roster and has solidified his spot in the rotation for years to come. 

    He spreads the floor out similar to Rashard Lewis thanks to his fantastic three-point marksmanship. As of right now, he ranks in the top 10 of three-pointers per game despite his limited role. Plus, he has developed into an above-average rebounder and defender, which are qualities Rashard Lewis never possessed. 

    Verdict: I have no doubt in my mind that the Orlando Magic front office has Ryan Anderson in their future plans, and there is absolutely no way he is moving before the trade deadline.

J.J. Redick

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    J.J. RedickKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: B

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Contract: Signed through 2012/13 at an average annual salary of 6.73 million dollars a year. 

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 10.2

    RPG: 2.0

    APG: 1.7

    Widely considered a bust for most of his career thus far, Redick has developed into a fantastic player for the Orlando Magic. The former Duke Blue Devil is considered one of the best college basketball players of all-time, but he started his professional career off horribly. He looked scared, was a defensive liability, and seemed to have lost his shooting range that made him so great in college. Many Magic fans were furious over this draft selection, as athletic players like Shannon Brown and Rajon Rondo were picked right after him. 

    Over the last two years, he has really stepped up his game. He has started to adapt to the fast, physical play-style of the NBA. He has become a fantastic shooter and has improved on his defensive capabilities to the point where he is no longer a liability. Despite his improvement, his contract is quite large, as the Magic had to match an offer that was presented by the Bulls last off-season. 

    Verdict: I don't see him being dealt before the deadline, as he is important to Orlando's success. 

Brandon Bass

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    Brandon BassElsa/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: B/B+

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 25

    Contract: Signed on a mid-level contract worth four million annually through the 2011/12 season. 

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 11.1

    RPG: 5.8

    APG: .8

    Finally, Stan Van Gundy decides to play the athletic, hard-working Brandon Bass. For the last couple years, Stan Van Gundy has used Bass sparingly even though he is a fantastic player. He can rebound, shoot, defend, and most importantly, he can hustle. If the Magic gave out an annual hustle award than Brandon Bass would win it every year.

    At the end of last season, rumors had surfaced that Brandon Bass wanted out of Orlando because he was not receiving a sufficient amount of minutes. With their backs against the wall, the Orlando Magic increased his role on the team. With the increase in minutes he has had a miraculous 2010/11 campaign, and the Magic would be foolish not to retain him for the long-term.

    However, he does not spread the floor out like his predecessor Rashard Lewis. This has caused a dilemma at times, as Dwight Howard does not have as much room to dominate with the paint being so congested. Nonetheless Brandon Bass is important to Orlando's success.

    Verdict: Brandon Bass will probably not be traded before the deadline.

Jason Richardson

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    Jason RichardsonMarc Serota/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: A-

    Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward

    Age: 30

    Contract: Expiring contract worth 14.444 million dollars.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 16.2

    RPG: 4.3

    APG: 1.6

    Jason Richardson is the Orlando Magic's most valuable trade chip besides Dwight Howard. He can shoot lights out, penetrate without mercy and defend the opposing teams best perimeter player. Plus, he is currently on a massive expiring contract. 

    Since arriving in Orlando, Jason Richardson has played exceptionally well. He brings athleticism, versatility and toughness to a team that seems to lack those characteristics. Plus, he fits right in the Orlando Magic mold, as he can shoot the trey remarkably well. Prior to the Magic he had short stints with the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors

    Richardson's most important quality is his leadership and veteran presence. On a team full of characters, Jason Richardson may be the player that keeps Orlando focused come playoff time. 

    Verdict: Jason Richardson is the only player that can net another superstar to play beside Dwight Howard. 

Gilbert Arenas

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    Gilbert ArenasMarc Serota/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: C

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 29

    Contract: Agreed to a six-year 111 million dollar contract in 2008

    Stats this season

    PPG: 11.8

    RPG: 2.9

    APG: 4.6

    Before being traded to Orlando, it seemed as if Gilbert Arenas had gained back the confidence that made him so great before the devastating injuries. He was slashing to the basket with aggressiveness and nailing open shots. It looked as if he was the Gilbert Arenas of old.

    However, the transition to Orlando has made him take a huge leap back in production. He looks like he has lost a step, which is easy to identify on defense, and he is timid on offense. This was extremely apparent in the game verse the Celtics on February 6, when Agent Zero actually scored zero points. 

    There is hope, as Arenas is looking better and more explosive after every game. If Arenas could be half as productive as he was back in his prime than the Magic would definitely be able to contend with the superstar powerhouses like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami. 

    Verdict: There is no way that a team is going to gamble on Arenas. He is an injury-riddled veteran who has no real playoff experience and is a noted bad locker room influence. The only reason that they traded for him was to rid themselves of that terrible Rashard Lewis contract.

Hedo Turkoglu

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    Hedo TurkogluSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: B

    Position: Small Forward/Power Forward/"Point Forward"

    Age: 31

    Contract: He has four years and 43.8 million dollars left on his contract.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 10.1

    RPG: 4.4

    APG: 3.9

    Hedo Turkoglu is arguably the second most important player to the Orlando Magic. He's competitive, has veteran leadership and playoff experience, and is extremely versatile. He is a fantastic penetrator and a miraculous shooter. Another upside to Hedo is that he can be used as a primary ball-handler when Jameer Nelson hits the bench. Plus, he is great friends with teammate Dwight Howard. If there is one player Magic fans love besides Dwight Howard it is Hedo Turkoglu. 

    Sure, he didn't play all that great in his short stints with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors, but the Orlando Magic have the perfect play-style for him to succeed. The three-point trigger happy Orlando terribly missed Hedo in his absence, as replacement Vince Carter was not able to get it done in crunch time.

    The negative side is that his second tenure with the Magic has not been as successful, as he is not producing like 2008 Hedo Turkoglu. Nonetheless, Hedo is a great glue-guy to have on the team and will hopefully help them get back to The Finals.

    Verdict: Even though Hedo is a great player, he is far more valuable to the Magic than any other team. His contract is a bit bloated and he has had problems adapting to new teams. I don't see the Magic wanting to or being able to move him.

Jameer Nelson

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    Jameer NelsonMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: B

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 29

    Contract: He is currently on a five-year deal worth 38 million dollars that he signed back in October of 2007.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 12.2

    RPG: 2.9

    APG: 6.3

    Like Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson is far more valuable to Orlando than to other teams. He is a fan-favorite, great locker room presence, and perfect fit in Orlando's play-style. He has great chemistry with Dwight Howard, and is a fantastic competitor. What he lacks in height and athleticism he gains in heart and hustle. He may not make any fantastic plays, but he does provide a consistent presence on the court.

    Nelson has struggled a little bit this season since Gilbert Arenas' arrival. He has not received consistent minutes from Stan Van Gundy in the rotation, as they try and find a role for Arenas. Plus, he has not been as sensational since his appearance at the All-Star game in 2009, but he has been a key cog in the success of the Magic. 

    Verdict: His success is directly driven from Dwight Howard's production, but he is far too important to the Magic to let him go. Plus, there is not much of a market for younger Derek Fisher-esque players.

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight HowardKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Trade Chip Value: A+++++

    Position: Center

    Age: 25

    Contract: He signed a five-year contract extension back in 2007 worth 80 million dollars, but can opt out after the 2011/12 season.

    Stats this season:

    PPG: 22.8

    RPG: 13.8

    APG: 1.2

    And another lonely superstar opts out of his current situation to form a superstar team. News has just broke that Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks because of his demands to play in the Big Apple. This is bad for Orlando for three reasons:

    1. It shows that superstars have the power to be traded to form superstar teams. (Dwight Howard)

    2. It makes the Knicks another team that could contend for an Eastern Conference Championship.

    (The contenders include Miami, Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago.)

    3. It shows Dwight Howard that much fame and attention comes with building a superstar team.

    (Things Dwight can't acquire with a small market team like Orlando.)

    There have been numerous rumors about Dwight's interest in playing with a high market team like Los Angeles or New York. He has also shown interest in teaming up with superstars like Olympic teammates Chris Paul or Deron Williams. His stats would absolutely skyrocket with a elite point guard running the show. However, he has denied rumors of his intent on leaving the Magic once his contract is up.

    If he does leave Orlando, the Magic fan-base would be devastated, as this would not be the first time their prodigious center that oozes with potential would leave. 

    Verdict: I think the Carmelo trade is going to be the only mega-trade that occurs this mid-season. I don't think the Magic are ready to bail on their former first round draft pick. He is the most dominant big man in the league, and hopefully they retain him for the long-term. 

The End!!!

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    Dwight HowardSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Thank you for reading!

    I love to hear comments and constructive criticism!

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