We’re taking a break in our Laker coverage to talk about the trades that were just announced. We’ll be back talking Lakers tomorrow morning…
Never let it be said again that a player is un-tradeable.
Because it’s just not true.
Not when Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu are all traded on the same day. And when you throw in Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, and Marcin Gortat – as is being reported – all being part of the two separate deals between the Magic, Suns, and Wizards, what we have is a good old fashioned blockbuster NBA trade.
And we didn’t even have to wait until February. Christmas has come early for fans as we now get to debate who won, who lost, and who’s craziest for agreeing to these deals.
Here’s my quick and dirty breakdown for each team based off who they’ve lost and acquired and how it will affect their team:
The Suns give up Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark while bringing in Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus. In my eyes, this is an overall upgrade for Phoenix. They pretty much get an even swap in Vince and JR – though I much prefer JR today due to his age, durability, and toughness as a player. But in dumping Hedo and reserve big man Clark, they’ve removed highly paid dead weight on their roster and replaced them with guys that can really play. I’ve always been a fan of Pietrus and think Gortat may be the biggest individual winner of all as he’ll finally get the minutes he savors and will get to play with Steve Nash in the process. He instantly becomes the Suns best big man (no disrespect meant to Robin Lopez) and should be a strong contributor in the Suns’ P&R game on offense while protecting the paint on defense. As for Pietrus, he’s a solid defensive wing that excels in what the Suns like to do on offense (he’s a good 3 point shooter that can also finish on the break) and he too should see some minutes at both SG and SF for the Suns. Again, overall, this is a win for the Suns though one has to wonder how Nash is going to take this news as he’s now seen the Suns let Amar’e walk while also trading Richardson with only Josh Childress and the newly acquired Magic trio to show for it.
A straight up swap of Gilbert Arenas for Rashard Lewis is straight forward and probably a wash for the Wizards. While Arenas was starting to show that he could play next to John Wall without stunting his growth as a player, the two are a bit redundant as ball dominating guards. So swapping him out for a player whose game compliments Wall’s better (a stretch four) was a defendable move. And in a way, I give them credit that they were able to get out from under Arenas’ contract at all considering the baggage he carries and the massive amount of money he was still owed. And then you realize they traded for Rashard Lewis and start to want to take that credit back. If there’s one contract that’s as bad or even worse than GA’s it’s Lewis’ massive deal. And when you throw in the fact that Rashard’s production has dipped severely since the Magic went to the Finals in 2009 and you wonder if there was anything better that could have been accomplished in the deal. At best, a change of scenery for Lewis means a rediscovery of his sweet jumper which will then create a nice pick and pop combination for the Wiz when Wall is back in the lineup healthy. At worst, Lewis doesn’t regain his stroke and he’s a $20 million bench player behind Blatche or a guy that’s (gasp) fighting for SF minutes with Al Thornton and Josh Howard whenever he returns from injury. The actual results will probably be somewhere in the middle, but it will be interesting to see what happens with this team now that Wall is the unquestioned foundation of the team without Arenas there to muddy the leadership waters.
I won’t necessarily call this a panic move, but it is a massive shake up to a team that many thought could compete with Boston and Miami for a chance at a Finals berth when the season started. But when watching this team of late, it seemed obvious that something needed to be done to change up the roster and spark them for another deep playoff run because it wasn’t happening with the group that they had. By dumping Lewis, Pietrus, and Gortat they’ve reduced their front court depth and lost a wing defender that could, theoretically at least, be someone that helped slow the Wade/Lebron/Pierce/Allen’s of the world that this team will face in the playoffs. That said, they’ve added some intriguing pieces that *could* really help. At this moment, Richardson is an upgrade over Carter. All of his per-game numbers are better and his 3 point shooting is nearly 10% points higher. As for Turkoglu, he (and his brutal contract) returns for another stint and if we’ve learned anything about him over the past three seasons it’s that he was at his best as a ball handler in the P&R with Dwight Howard. I admit it seems very doubtful that he’ll come close to returning to that level of play, but if you’re the Magic rolling the dice that you can coax a better performance out of him than Phoenix and Toronto isn’t the biggest leap (he can’t be worse, right?). As for Arenas, he’s the wild card. He’s been injured and his reputation has been beyond tarnished. But as a combo scoring guard that can create his own shot, won’t shrink from the moment, and still has a higher ceiling than any player traded, he may be worth the gamble. Maybe a new team sparks him. Maybe playing with Howard gets him the type of open shots that he hasn’t had since he, Butler, and Jamison were all playing peak level basketball. There are obvious contract issues with Gilbert and his shift in demeanor in the past season has been as stark as any player I’ve seen in recent memory. But, again, there’s potential there and for the Magic and for a team looking to shake up it’s roster, they could have done a lot worse than getting the three players they did – three guys that don’t ever seem to let pressure get to them, I might add.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Let me know in the comments who you think got the best out of these deals.
Good luck playing defense, Magic. Much of their losses have been against teams with solid offensive efficiency and the opposition’s wing players and guards have been doing the damage. Getting more firepower helps, maybe it’ll cover up their defensive issues.
I like the Suns in this trade. They got rid of Hedo. That’s always a win. Getting Gortat gives them another player that works in the pick-and-roll with Nash. Pietrus could fill in on the wing with Hill, Dudley, and Childress. Vince is terrible, but has a nice expiring contract and shoots the three.
Washington got another shooter. Should spread the floor for the Wizards, specifically John Wall. I think Saunders will have find a way to make Lewis valuable again. I thought he was underutilized with the Magic, considering he was so far down on the totem pole as far as scoring options go.
Craig W. says
Washington has enough frontcourt people and Lewis simply adds one more, while they are a bit short on guards and now trade away their best scorer. It just seems the organization was in bad odor and Gilbert was the way out. I see no improvement and a possible decline unless Lewis makes a real turnaround.
The Suns are the big winner, as they get their needed depth at center for the price of their starting shooting guard. Additionally they got better defensively on the wing. All these things are good and VC gets to operate in the open court more than in Orlando.
Orlando is certainly the question mark here. If Hedo comes around then they may come out ahead in the playoff sweepstakes, but they are dangerously thin up front. They have to hope and pray that Howard remains as dependable as he has so far in his career, because behind him there is absolutely nothing. They are also absolutely salary cap strapped for the next 2.5 years – and that’s under the current CBA. They better hope the new agreement includes reductions on current contracts.
Big Jim says
Orlando gets a star in J Rich and a player in Arenas for two duds – Carter and Lewis. Hedo’s chemistry with DH is a wild-card. Gortat was underutilized. This makes Redick disposable – perhaps a good trade chip with Earl Clark to help redress the lck of coverage at SF (particularly on the defensive end, not sure why Pietrus was traded instead of Redick). By doing a deal with 60 games left on the regular season schedule, Orlando gives their shake-up a chance to work before the Feb trading deadline (in case they need to make another move) and build real chemistry before the playoffs. Yes, SVG adds avalue to the trade in that it gives him more potential combos to work with,
Suns erase this summers BIG turkoglu mistake in Gortat. In return, they give up this season but get peices that will contribute somethign in the PHX system.
Wizards lose in the talent department but now get cap-space in 13-14 as opposed to 14-15 (they don’t really ned it the next two summers anyway). Who knows, if there is any kind of one-off write-off as part of the new CBA (lowering the salary cap and all), this may actually pay-off. The upside for John Wall makes this deal make sense.
As a Laker fan, I love this trade. JRich kills us, but now we get to deal with a washed up VC. True they now get depth in the frontcourt with Gortat but they also strengthen our stronghold because that’s where we are the strongest. True Pietrus guards Kobe well, but Kobe is not the emphasis as much anymore with the Killer Bs, Lamar, and the big boys playing well. To me this is a Laker victory.
As far the East; let them beat each other up, we will see the winner at the dance.
Chris J says
Interesting deals all around. The Magic have long seemed like the most logical landing point for Arenas, though I was looking for the VC-Arenas trade to make that happen rather than this deal.
If Arenas stays healthy, I like these moves for the Magic. Playing Nelson and Arenas alongside Hedo and Richardson gives that team four legitimate offensive threats to stretch the floor and work inside-outs with Howard.
Hedo played his best in Orlando, and Arenas was not too long ago considered one of the best guards in the NBA. If they round back into form that could put Orlando a lot closer to Miami than would have been possible before this deal.
Both Miami and Orlando still lack the size to knock off a healthy Boston, in my view. But who’s to say Boston’s group of geezers will be wheelchair free come June? Nothing’s given in this league.
Washington’s irrelevant to the championship discussion, as are the Suns. Phoenix gets a little bigger with Gortat, but Vince is garbage so I don’t see this making them a contender in the west.
Quick thoughts on Arenas…I live in the DC area. Going into this season, there was absolutely no doubt that John Wall had been tapped as the Wizards franchise player. All of the image-based marketing splashed around the Metro and other public spaces had his face on it. (Sometimes paired with Andray Blatche.) When you go to the store at the Verizon Center, you can only buy two current jerseys: Wall’s and Blatche’s. (Although a handful of Arenas’ #0 and Caron Butler’s jerseys are still hanging on the clearance rack.)
In late Nov, the Wizards hosted the Sixers. In the second quarter–after Wall had entered the game to be paired with Arenas–Gilbert slumped his shoulders and pouted through a few possessions. (This was the first time Wall had played after missing a couple of games due to injury. Arenas played inspired while Wall was out.) Gilbert jogged between foul lines and stood listlessly on the perimeter on offense. He was clearly uninterested and uncomfortable being last year’s prom queen while this year’s prom queen was holding court.
During a break in play, Arenas was subbed out. Before the new Wizard even stepped away from the scorer’s table, Arenas sprinted off the court and took a seat near the very end of the Wizards bench. It was such an odd sight to witness.
Gilbert has shown signs this year that he could still be a very productive NBA player. But anyone who watches the Wizards regularly will tell you that he needed to get out of DC. Personally, I expect him to be completely refreshed in Orlando. And, once he finds a comfort level working with Howard and Nelson and Turkoglu, I think he could be Orlando’s Lamar Odom. The big question for him will be this: will he find that comfort level among that foursome? I think it’s possible, but that’s such a big shake-up for the Magic that it’s difficult to project the success of what will be a fascinating chemistry experiment.
As a Laker fan, this trade is a dream come true.
Gortat won’t make the Suns a threat against us although I think PHX got the best deal out of the three teams involved.
Orlando rolls a big dice and undoes some of its previous moves, but if it works out, they can become the archery team of the past with the shooters and scorers. It hinges on Arenas, for sure, but even after a few injuries later, I’m willing to roll the dice on a former 60 point scorer. But if we were to meet them, they don’t have enough depth up front, and an older Arenas shall be handled with Bryant-Barnes and even Artest.
Washington gets rid of Gilbert, tacks on another big contract in Lewis and in general I don’t like the move for them in basketball or business sense. It may be good for them chemistry wise, but else I don’t see much merit.
In the end, I think the trade made life tougher for non-Laker west teams and if it works out for Orlando, it would make things interesting for Heat and the Celtics. If things work out for the Wizards, we may have them rob a game or two from the C’s and the Heat, which may help us with HCA.
I’m not sure what Orlando is thinking here. I can kind of see if one of the trades happened. But both? How are they going to find minutes for Jameer, JRich and Gilbert?
Losing Pietrus, I also immediately thought who’s going to be the wing D guy now? Orlando made their mark on D during their run two years ago. Now they don’t have anyone to match up against the elite wings, something you need in the playoffs.
I just get what Orlando is thinking at all. Phx is the big winner I think. Between Lopez and Gortat, they now have a solid big man rotation with skill sets that fit Nash’s strengths. Losing JRich is big but getting better big man play makes the trade better. Pietrus can be the D guy, Phx’s bench has enough shooters. Hedo never fit in there and I think the team will be much better without him. Hill can slide to SG. Childress can be the starting SF. Warrick and Lopez at the frontline and that’s a pretty good starting five with a versatile bench that can score and defend. This is an absolute win for Phx.
As for Wash, I don’t think it was the money with Gilbert as the situation and people. Swapping out the money to get rid of the situation so everyone could move forward was probably all they wanted to do. In that sense it was a win for them.
Dave M says
Very nice breakdown of a complex deal (as compared to my murky SfS hash, haha). Washington certainly comes out of it cleanly, and in fact have been outplaying the Heat for most of the current game without either Gil or Rashard. Still, my vote’s for Orlando – they’ve blown up their team despite being in 4th place in the east. No guts, no glory. Should be fun to watch play out.
Boy Washington really sucks, they totally gave away the game to the Heat. What a pathetic sad team.
Wizards front office plan
1) get rid of gilbert’s contract
2) get rid of rashard lewis’ contract
I think this was a terrible deal for Orlando. Sure, they needed to shake things up, but the point of getting rid of VC and Rashard is to get tough, strong, character guys that will help Dwight on the defensive end and be able to knock down the open shot. A Bruce Bown type (like Beaubois from Dallas). Instead they go super soft. I have a ton of Respect for J-rich, but you can’t pair Jameer and Arenas in the backcourt because Arenas isn’t particularly good from 3 and has never played D before.
If the Backcourt is Jameer, Richardson, and Hedo at the 1-2-3, they will be scored on like the Clippers as they will have to hedge on every good scorer the league has to offer.
Furthermore, I think they should’ve gone frontcourt depth (and got a bruiser like a Camby from Portland) because obviously they will be looking for ways towards salary cap relief this season, then to go with Backcourt 3 point offense. Anyone (even a Trevor Ariza) can help spread the floor and get hot from three, but not everyone could go big like that. Thats not to say that Camby would be available, but who knows.
Getting rid of Rashards dead body was probably fine, as he hasnt been the same since he got busted for steroid use, but I just don’t know what the plan will be on both sides of the court when Orlando runs into their nemesis – Boston – especially when Boston can single cover Dwight all series and still stay on their shooters.
I also read that this deal hurt the owners in the collective bargaining agreement this summer – how can a small market owner be claiming poverty with a $93 million payroll. Kind of weird to look at it like that, but I’m sure David Stern is looking for a way to negate the trade so that they can save face in the summer.
As a side note – with another Kobe sprain on his pinkie, how many games of lost shooting touch do you all think he will have? Cant the guy just play with gloves on or something – jeez – every year those fingers get mashed up, and its not even January this time.
If Richardson is as tall as some say he is, then he’s as tall as Kobe. So presumably he can slide down to SF every now and again, what with the lesser frontcourt depth that some noted. That would allow Nelson, JRich and Arenas to share the court. And picture as well our friend from Sac Town, Hedo The Glue, returning to his prior Magic form. They could conceivably field a lineup of Howard, Hedo, JRich, Arenas and Nelson. If the 2 find themselves and the chemistry works, those 5 would put the fear of Deity into more than a few. They could also package two of the newbies in a deal for Carmelo Anthony.
Now back to The Glue, the Suns problem was in expecting Hedo to be a one dimensional spot up shooter. Not only is that not Hedo, you don’t pay those dollars for that player. LeBron understands how one uses The Glue:
“I just thought what Turk created for their team, that point-forward, he kind of created everything. He created a mismatch and that was part of the reason why they beat us. We were just too small on the perimeter those years. I know they’re happy to have him back.”
Kinda hard to be point forward with Mr. Nash on the floor. Or as SVG put it:
When Phoenix visited Orlando earlier this season, Van Gundy inferred that Turk wasn’t a good fit with Suns point guard Steve Nash, and in that system all Turk got to do was shoot three-pointers.
“I know he’s 6-10 with skills,” Van Gundy said. “His skills have not eroded, I know that. We’ve watched enough on film. We’ll see. I know he can shoot the ball and he can handle the ball and he can pass the ball, and I know he’s capable of defending. We’ve gotta get him back into that mode a little bit.”
And so this promises to be interesting. And, no, I am not a fan of the Magic. I simply remember Arenas in his glory days and I also remember that while it was no surprise that Nelson torched Fisher, Hedo played well against the Lakers’ strength, their frontcourt. In short, to borrow from LeBron, he created a mismatch. He was their version of Lamar. The diff between the two is obviously that while they are both point forwards, Lamar is more the rebounder and less the 3 pt shooter while Hedo is less the rebounder and more the 3 pt shooter. Here’s to hoping for the day when they can work out an exhibition series or something, and paired alongside a Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum would be Lamar and Hedo, the two point forwards with complementing strengths. Would be fun to watch, providing we have the right guard combo as well (picture a pure shooter who doesn’t need the ball so much and a PG who also doesn’t the ball so much but who can create all the penetration that is desired).
Dave M says
#12 – I’m betting Orlando brings in a vet big soon, it wouldn’t make sense to pull the trigger on such an elaborate trade without planning for the loss of Gortat. As for Kobe’s hand, it boggles the imagination. It’s so incredibly trashed but he somehow manages to work with it.
I have a little trouble seeing the Gortat-Nash pick and roll. My disclaimer is that I haven’t watched enough Magic basketball. But from what I saw, I remember Gortat being a bit of a butterfingers. Nash will make any big look good, but for some reason I can’t see Gortat being a great roller, clumsy as he is. The average PnR will work, no doubt. But I don’t see Gortat being able to catch the passes that come in tight situations, with a lot of traffic in the lane. I still think the Nash-Warrick pick and roll will be far more effective. I feel like Lopez actually has better hands. Still though, Gortat should start based on boards and D alone.
And isn’t Lewis’s contract better than Arenas? Too lazy to look it up so just going off just memory, I thought Arenas is on the hook for $60+, whereas next year is Lewis’s last monster year – I think the following year is only partially guaranteed. So I think Washington saves money (and finds a slightly better fit).
Pietrus’s defense has dropped off a bit, but I think Orlando will seriously regret letting him go.
Arenas as a potent 6th man is intriguing. Starting J-Rich at the 2 makes more sense to me (he’s an awful defender, but he’ll have more luck against Wade and Kobe than Arenas…plus he needs players like Jameer to get him open 3’s). Arenas, on the other hand, could have a great deal of freedom playing with the bench and could easily change the flow of the game, putting up a huge # of points in a hurry.
I don’t expect much out of Turkoglu. He was great when he was the only real handler they had (when Nelson was injured). I think he’ll be better than he was in Toronto and Phoenix (in other words, he’ll actually contribute a little something), but a subpar starting 3.
I actually agree with SVG – I don’t think Turk’s skills have eroded much, I think he’s been horribly misused. But I just think with Nelson and Arenas now, Turk will have less opportunities to have that impact.
Some may see it as the Magic losing frontcourt depth, but I see addition by subtraction. Ryan Anderson can provide exactly what Rashard Lewis was giving them, and more PT for Bass is a good thing.
Dave M says
Snoopy – Rashard’s got a couple full years left after this… next year’s 22,152,000 and the following is 23,790,000… some serious coin. Still, Washington wanted to be out of the Arenas business in the worst way. I agree, Gilbert could be instant offense off the bench and he’s got to be happy for a new beginning.
Dave – I think there might be more to it than that. Kelly Dwyer’s saying that only $10 million of that 23,790,000 is guaranteed (but that’s only if they waive him outright…if they keep him that number goes up a few million, but far less than the full 24). I haven’t heard anything from cap-expert Larry Coon but KD is one of the smartest guys out there, so I trust him. Serious money either way, but maybe a little more palatable for Washington.
Even if it’s a draw financially, I think Washington just wanted to get rid of the specter of Gilbert. They probably would have taken on more money even, just to get rid of his off-court history and move forward with John Wall.
Craig W. says
I have looked around and find that Arenas has 4 yrs left totaling $80M and increasing each year. Lewis has 3 yrs left totaling $66.5M and increasing each year.
Lewis’ salary is higher each year by $2-$3M, but his deal is one year shorter. I can’t find where there are any options on the end of either deal.
Orlando’s real risk is that they have committed themselves for so many years into the future to two really big contracts (Turk is also for 4 yrs), in addition to Dwight Howard’s. This is almost like Brian Grant’s and Lamar’s contracts for the Lakers, but longer.
I really don’t know how the Magic are going to play defense now. I thought they should have went after an athletic wing like Iguodala instead. You have to be able to guard LeBron and Wade on the wing. Also, they are going to get beaten up down low when Dwight gets into foul trouble.
letting ‘peaches’ go was a BIG mistake! i agree — who will defend on the perimeter? magic in panic mode once again. there is NO WAY they will get past boston with that lineup. they have a backup for every position but center. with centers so hard to come by why would they give up gortat?! they screwed themselves with hedo. he was bad player on his last 2 teams and now he’s back with magic for the same riduculous salary magic didnt want to give him in the 1st place! classic.
Darius Soriano says
Raptors game preview is up: