As I watched Dallas Mavericks fans give Steve Nash a standing ovation at the American Airlines Center last night, I wondered how many championship trips the dynamic duo of Nash and Nowitzki would have enjoyed if the two still played on the same team. I also wondered how much more dangerous the Magic would be if Hedo Turkoglu never left.
Turkoglu looked lost in his Suns uniform last night as he’s done throughout the season. He was also invisible in Toronto, where he played for one season before being traded to Phoenix. He played his best basketball in Orlando. So, I wasn’t too surprised to learn the Magic brought him back to help them rekindle their championship bid.
On the more surprising side of the three-way mega trade, Magic also sent the NBA’s best backup Center Marcin Gortat, has-been dunk artist Vince Carter, Jay Electronica’s lost twin Mickael Pietrus, a future 1st round pick and $3 million to the Suns in exchange for the aforementioned Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. They also jettisoned the wildly ineffective Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Gilbert Arenas.
If you’re a Magic fan, that last acquisition leaves so many questions on the table. You know what you’re getting with Richardson (offense) and Turkoglu (versatility), but what version of Gilbert Arenas will show up in Orlando? Is it the version that will assert himself offensively? Is it the version that walks on eggshells after paying a harsh price for his own stupidity? Or is it the version that plays with the knees of a 65-year old lady?
While the roster shakeup makes Magic basketball more fun to watch, it doesn’t make Orlando a contender. In fact, it strikes me as a panic move in the vein of Cleveland’s trade for Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal on the brink of LeBron’s free agency. Both moves were designed primarily to appease the franchise player. But only time will tell how far the Magic will go in their quest to give Howard a ring before he becomes a free agent in 2012.