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NBA / Apr 14, 2009 / 10:00 am

The trade that will bring Orlando a championship

Vince Carter, Dime #21

Vince Carter, Dime #21

The Magic have been like the Chicago Cubs of the NBA. Their talent and regular-season record makes it impossible to leave them completely off the list of title contenders, but at the same time, nobody’s really gonna step up and put money on Orlando to win the big prize.

Despite posting the League’s fourth-best record (58 wins through Monday) and notable W’s over the Celtics, Cavs, Spurs and Lakers, Orlando’s recent slump — last night’s loss in Milwaukee was their fourth L in the last five games — has them backing into the playoffs needing to worry about the Bulls, who have been as hot lately (12 wins in their last 15) as Orlando is cold.

Even at their best, though, the Magic can’t win a championship as presently constructed. True, Dwight Howard will be a perennial MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu make up one of the League’s best 3-4 combos, Jameer Nelson (out for the ’09 playoffs) has reached an All-Star level, and Stan Van Gundy is a good enough coach to take a team deep into the postseason. But they’re just not there yet.

One glaring reason is the lack of a go-to perimeter scorer to take over at the end of a game. Dwight’s immature post game and poor free-throw shooting means Orlando’s best player isn’t their best crunch-time option, hence the trickle-down effect: Hedo is a second option play-acting as an alpha dog, Jameer and Rashard are third options pretending to be second options, etc. Sometimes it works, but it’s not a championship recipe; imagine Portland having Travis Outlaw as their go-to clutch scorer instead of Brandon Roy and you get the idea.

It’s not gonna happen for the Magic this year, but there’s one trade they can make this summer that’ll get them over the hump, right in the championship mix in 2010 and beyond:

ORLANDO gets — Vince Carter, Sean Williams
NEW JERSEY gets — Hedo Turkoglu, Tony Battie, J.J. Redick

First off, it works money-wise. Vince makes $16.3 million next year and Williams makes $1.6M, totaling $17.9M. On the other side, if you sign-and-trade Turkoglu at, say, $9 million, Battie’s $6.2M and Redick’s $2.8M gives you $18M on Orlando’s side.

Beyond that, why would New Jersey be interested? An article in the New York Daily News the other day said the Nets have no plans to trade Vince, but that’s more because his contract would be hard to move than the team being vehemently opposed to letting him go. Believe me, the Nets aren’t married to VC and wouldn’t mind getting out from under the money they owe him. If the right offer comes along, they’d listen. They’d also have a chance to get rid of Williams, who’s become an embarrassment to the organization. The Nets get Hedo, who can put up 17-20 points a night and allows Devin Harris to take over as the franchise’s leading man, plus a pure shooter in Redick and a quality, veteran big in Battie.

Why is it the right move for Orlando? Hedo has already said he’s going to opt-out of his contract this summer — a sign-and-trade gives the Magic a chance to get something back for a borderline All-Star. Meanwhile, Vince gives them a bona fide go-to scorer on the perimeter who can create his own shot and come through in the clutch, whether it’s a jumper, getting to rack, or getting to the line. Carter (a Florida native who’d be elated to go home and compete for a ring) takes the pressure off Dwight, Rashard and Jameer in late-game situations, and his outside shooting is accurate enough to fit into Van Gundy’s system. And that tired, “He doesn’t play hard” stigma should have been put to rest given what he’s done for the Nets this year. (Redick doesn’t have spot in the Magic’s rotation anyway, Battie becomes expendable with Marcin Gortat‘s development into an actual player, and they can just dump Williams if they think he’ll be a problem.)

Why wouldn’t this get done? A few reasons: New Jersey is still under the impression they’ve got a good shot at LeBron in 2010, so bringing in Hedo with a long-term deal when he plays the same position as ‘Bron might turn them off. And if Orlando is looking simply to cut costs, they may just let Hedo walk and pass on somebody with Vince’s cap number.

But if Orlando’s brain trust is really trying to take the next step and win a championship, this is the move to make. A core of Jameer, Vince, Rashard and Dwight, led by Van Gundy, can go places beyond the first two rounds of the playoffs. Instead of just resembling a title contender, Orlando would actually be one.

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  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Ain’t read the article but I seen the words Orlando, trade and a picture of Vince. All I need to know.

    I am all for it! They would be a top team for sure.

  • Junio

    Austin Burton, usually writing crap.

    No wonders why dime is searching for new blood on the writing team.

  • YOUNGFED…”MuthaFugga’s I deserve it when I be in range”

    I guess, but how is Vince better than Hedo and 2nd I assume you consider Vince an Alpha Dog.

  • Detroit Dave

    I think they will sign Jamal Crawford this off season…. He should help, but Orlando’s will only be as good as Dwight Howard’s post game…He is ineffective against good big men. Dwight Howard is not yet a go to scorer. The Orlando Manangement should tell him to step it up.

  • fab

    imagine Portland having Travis Outlaw as their go-to clutch scorer instead of Brandon Roy and you get the idea.

    that actually happens more often than you think!
    but you are still right about your best player not being able to create on his own in crucial possesions.

  • http://u.arizona.edu/~gmusa Glenn

    I was gonna say the same thing as fab, Portland DOES go to Outlaw in the clutch.

  • Coop

    If you think the Nets want to take on a long contract starting at 9mil for a guy like Turk then you need your head examined.

  • http://dimemag.com Big Freeze

    Really? VC to the Magic? Didn’t Orlando already try the selfish gaurd thing with Tmac and Steve Francis? Sorry Austin, they’ll pass.

  • SK

    ORL loses Battie and Turk and they lose a lot of size. All they will have behind Dwight is Gortat (if resigned) and Foyle (who shouldn’t play more than 5 min). That would also make the Pietrus move a mistake and Lee would lose playing time. There would have to be a follow up trade/signing.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dagomardeg Dagomar

    VC will not put a team over the top, not at this stage of his career.

  • Diego

    Hey, goobs, it was a nice article and a very plausible trade scenario. AB knows his stuff. I am pretty sure Vince is from Daytona, which is very close to Orlando, and you better believe that he would LOVE to go to Orlando at this stage in his career.

    Nets shake Sean Williams, get some promise in Redick (believe it or not), a solid veteran backup big man and lockerroom presence in Battie, plus Hedo. I go for it if I am N.J. If I am Orlando and may lose Hedo anyway, I go for it too.

  • flavur

    this team would definitely win a chip vince is like they said a good enough three point shooter but most of all 1. He doesn’t live by the three 2. He can create his own shot just like jameer can 3. He’s clutch and that is exaactly what Orlando needs because Hedo and Rashard are the same player which personally I don’t think it’s a good think to have two of the same players on a team. I definitely would Agee with the notion that if this trade is made during the offseason then they will win a chip.

  • Flip

    And you’re assuming that Hedo would agree with a sign and trade around 9 million… most observers think that he’ll command at least 10 million, and even then he’d still make 8 millions less than Rashard Lewis…

    too many unsubstantiated assumptions to make this deal work!

  • AB_40

    I don’t know if this gives them a shoe in for the title but they’ll go over boston and maybe even cleveland. even if this would happen it depends on dwight howard. and it is obvious that patrick ewing can’t get the job done with him so it’s time for another big man coach

  • Celts Fan

    Tony Battie = Celtics MVP for every year Paul Pierce plays/is still alive

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com chiefwahoo56

    Nice pie-in-the-sky idea… too bad it doesn’t work under CBA rules. In a sign & trade the trading team can only take back up to half the new contract’s value. Do more research before proposing off-the-wall trade ideas.

  • Big Island

    Hedo at least tries to play defense.

  • K Dizzle

    I hope Courtney Lee reads this article. Dude has made strides this season and could blow up next season Granger-lite styles with all the focus on Dwight , Jameer, Hedo and Rashard and the combo of Pietrus, Hedo and Lee give you more than Vince for the same price. It’s obvious that this team missin Jameer. Skip good, but he can’t do it like Jameer. You bring the same squad back healthy, you let Lee develop, sharpen up….sorry, develop Dwight’s post game, you keep Hedo cuz maybe some short memories involved but Hedo was the one hittin clutch shots when Orlando needed em last season. Now with the cash they givin to Shard and people thinkin it’s Dwight team, they get the chance to play hero. That’s Jameer’s job and as mentioned before, he’s hurt. Signin Vince is a panic move. Vince needs Orlando more than they need him

  • loons

    First, the Nets are run by Rod Thorn. So NJ is getting the upper hand in any trade scenario. This also means no Turkoglu for 9 mil over x years.

    Second, Vince isn’t selfish. Common misconception. Also, don’t just point to this season to validate Vince. He has been a model player since he arrived in NJ. (aside from the occasional ridiculous turnaround, fadeaway three he jacks every so often)

    Third, Vince does give effort on D. He is a more complete player than he is getting credit for.

    Fourth, he plays hurt. He definitely hams it up a lot when he tweaks something on the court and that look on his face like he’s giving birth can get annoying, but he stays out there and plays at a high level.

  • AY

    i just want to know if we’re going to get another article tomorrow alleging that “Orlando must win against charlotte”.

  • George W Kush Sr

    You’re right about your best player doing something with the ball at the end of close games. But this trade is only good for Orlando, not New Jersey in any way.

    Tony Battie is no longer a “quality” big man, he’s just not completely useless, that doesn’t make him quality. Its not something NJ is dying to acquire.

    Do they really want to pay Hedo $9M per year? He’s not taking anything less than a 3 or 4 year contract, that’s a $27 to $36 Million agreement, all they owe Carter and Williams is $18M, so how are they saving any money? If they’re even hoping for a leftover like Bosh or Stoudemire or Joe Johnson or etc from the 2010 Lebron Auction they’ll need all the money they can use.

    If Orlando can get them to bite then they obviously become incredibly dangerous. You’ve got Lee, Pietrus, Alston coming off the bench if you start Gortat with Dwight, Vince, Rashard and Nelson. You’ll have to pick up another big man to go with Williams and you’re pretty much just waiting for June 2010. It’ll never happen though, only in your PS3 or Xbox will you see this go down.

  • Brown

    Hedo at a $9-10 million, 3-4 year contract just doesn’t make sense for NJ.

  • http://www.layupdrill.com LayupDrill

    Why would New Jersey do this deal again? I almost thought I clicked on OrlandoMagic.com reading this one…

  • Russ

    I second what Brown wrote … NO WAY does NJ do this and pay Hedo $9M … the whole article makes no sense bc of that

  • Big Aaron

    Orlando fan here:

    We say, no thanks. We’ll pay for Hedo.

  • Coop

    Flip,

    In the current economic climate if you think Hedo will get 11mil per then you’re on cloud 9.

  • http://twitter.com/austinburton18 Austin Burton, “T.M.P.”

    How the Nets save money:

    Right now they’ll play $18 million for Vince/Williams next year, $17M for Vince the year after (Williams contract expires), and $18M for Vince the year after.

    With the trade they’ll play $18M for Hedo, Redick and Battie next year, $9M for Hedo the year after (Battie and Redick contracts expire), and $9M for Hedo the year after.

    So if you do that math, that’s $53 million through 2011 if they keep Vince/Williams, versus $36 million through 2011 if they do the trade.

  • Ian

    austin i dont know how do u trade your clutch man for carter and say it will put them over the top i love carter but damn man not for hedo

    youngfeds right

    and about portland dont they go with outlaw a lot in crunch time?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Outlaw wouldn’t be nearly as effective in crunch time if Roy wasn’t there to deflect attention. Last time I was in Portland I even asked Outlaw about it; he said he gets points in the fourth quarter because Roy draws the other team’s best defender, LaMarcus draws a good defender, so he’s usually going against somebody who can’t lock him down and he capitalizes off the open looks.

  • George W Kush Sr

    “So if you do that math, that’s $53 million through 2011 if they keep Vince/Williams, versus $36 million through 2011 if they do the trade.”

    OK, i thought he had two years left not three. But now the question becomes why would Orlando agree to pay $53 Million when they can resign Hedo and sign another name, just as a example not a suggestion, say Jamaal Crawford for $9 Million per also? I mean Hedo and Crawford together for $18M is better than just Vince for the same price tag.

    Still dont think it’ll happen in real life, Orlando would benefit maybe the first 2 years, but that last one will be painful at $18M.

    Same thing for the Nets, the last 2 years of Hedo’s contract will be painful at $9M per. Both these guys are older now, its alot of money to throw around during this Recession. I heard something about Orlando being one of the teams taking a loan from the NBA to survive this year, why would they take on $53 Million? They already have Rashard and Dwight making big money. $13.75M (Howard) and $16.5 (Lewis), and then $18M for vince is $48.25 Million just for 3 players !!! Pietrus is already $5.3M, Nelson is $7.7, Alston is another $5M, and then Lee’s contract expires after next year and you gotta resign him. Without Lee you’re already looking at $66.25 for 6 players only!!! Most teams usually have 15 players under contract, so that’s 8 more to go with Lee on board and you’re already in the tax.

  • baron von faulk

    Outlaw is Portland’s crunch time scorer but I think Austin means they aren’t going to win Championship that way. Valid point!

  • Coop

    Austin,

    Firstly, the last year for Vince is a team option if memory serves and, secondly, his expiring contract will be GOLD DUST the year before it ends and therefore clearly taking on a stupid amount for Turk is entirely pointless.

  • the cynic

    i’d rather have Turk then Vince at this point in there careers, im sure the magic feel the same

  • robmo35

    Winning comedic formula:
    Austin Burton proposes trade neither side would consider, hilarity ensues. Here’s to Louisville, no er umm… Michigan State, oops, University of North Carolina national champions

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Yeah, I guess I was the first person to ever get an NCAA Tournament pick wrong.

  • Kryptonite Hops

    Hedo is younger and a better passer in a team full of shooters.

  • http://nbaroundtable.wordpress.com/ Dave

    Lateral move for Orlando?

    Decent deal for NJ, but an expiring contract would be better for them — more flexibility.

  • g3tpwn3d

    First of all, the Cubs havent won a title in 101 years and running…the Magic have only been around for one-fifth of that timeframe, and havent actually won a title in the first place. Not to mention the year they lost to the Rockets in the Finals, I’m pretty sure a decent amount of experts picked Shaq and Penny to bring home the ‘ship.
    The Cubs meanwhile routinely choke and suck in the playoffs if they even get there, which would explain the acronym Completely Useless By September.
    All the Magic need to win the title is for Dwight Howard to start playing with a chip on his shoulder and dominate the paint by demanding the damn ball like he’s supposed to. I’d love to hear a similar scenario where a team traded for a player like Carter that propelled them to a championship at this stage of the season. Oh, wait, it’s never happened.
    No one is criticizing you for making an incorrect tourny pick, it’s the fact that you wrote two different articles about your predictions, they second of which was just dumb. The fact that they were both horribly off only compounds the mistake. If it makes you feel better, your MSU article was better than Seth Davis’ slab of crap.
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/seth_davis/04/06/title.game/index.html?bcnn=yes

  • Kevin

    Austin, I think a more likely scenario would have Hedo signing for approx 7 million and the Magic including the rights to Fran Vasquez.

  • thomasmmm

    Orlando doesn’t need VC. they just need a GOOD back-up for Jameer and get Pietrus some playing time. did you see Gortat’s game the other day?

  • illy

    ferrreelly? vince tar-tar?? wastin 16 mil on a guy tats always injured….um….mo like recipe for rebuildin

  • Big V

    Makes sense.

    Although Vince has shown no indication of slowing down, players sometimes tend to show their age/injuries overnight. Might be a bit of a risk from the Orlando perspective if this happens.

  • Rizwan

    Why is everyone jumping on Austin’s back about this? he obviously knows a bit about basketball working for a magazine about basketball!!!

    The trade is a good idea, I think. Carter does play hard and even if he didnt before, you know he will for a championship. Orlando would be championship contenders for a few years as Celtics are old and Lebron might still leave. The only thing is Howard needs to improve his game. He is a beast defensively but what about the offense? all he does is dunk and clown around. Did anyone see his Beyonce imitation? It werent even funny.

    I know he’s still young and all but if he spends some time actually getting post moves, they’re gonna win.

  • VCfaninToronto

    Make this trade! Watching the first half of the Sixers-Magic game, i see Turk getting doubled the minute Dwight comes to set the screen and D-HO doesn’t even see the ball. Vince would make those passes consistently. They would be a great one-two punch and Turk is no where near the player that VC is. Selfish? Are you kidding me? What Nets games have you been watching? VC is anything but selfish. I say make this trade.

  • derek

    So basically, this guy is a F’in genius. He almost literally called a real live NBA trade a good number of months before it happened.

    Look at how incredibly close it was;
    Instead of Williams, Magic wrestled Anderson away instead. The other young, but better, PF the Nets have. Obviously the Magic acquired Vince Carter too, and I got to say, the reasoning for getting Vince Carter is 100% on.
    Nets acquired Battie just like predicted. The writer, Austin, guesses Redick would be a good add too for being a sharpshooter SG, but the Nets were able wrestle C.Lee instead, a better young SG.
    The last piece is the least closest tho, as Turk may make sense for the Nets since they are so skeletal in talent, but Turk commanded more money, and its clear in retrospect the Nets wanted more cap space, and hence the Rafer Alston add instead of a Hedo Turkoglu, who was later S/T’ed by Magic to Raptors for heavy TPE and Cash. The Magic braintrust went on to spend more money for VC’s contract (tho only 2 yrs) and acquiring Bass, Barnes, and Jason Williams for adding insane depth. The Nets went on to drafting Terrence Williams who will probly be the SF instead.
    I seriously applaud this writer for his NBA smarts. Its not often sports journalists actually have some great basketball knowledge AND apply it so well to calling a trade that was about 85-90% dead on in my opinion.

  • papfankon

    @g3tpwn3d i think you are the one that is pwned.Same goes for Junio.I hope, that some of you guys will bump into this at some point.Of course this won’t change anything since, you are commenting through your hood of anonymity trashing everything in your way.Care to respond anyone?

  • Nick

    Wow, funny looking back at this article. You were almost right on Mr. Burton.

  • Jay5ive

    The shame of it all is in hindsight this was actually a bad trade for Orlando. I’m a life long fan and former Orlando resident and I was so excited when we signed Vince after Hedo walked … but … VInce has killed our chemistry and he takes so many terrible shots. I have never been as letdown with an Orlando team as I was watching them lose back to back games to Indiana & Chicago. My suggestion: Forget about starting Barnes or Pietrus, slide Lewis (who has lost all confidence) to the SF and start Bass at PF. I think a better rotation at PF is bringing Anderson in off the bench to play the bulk of the PF minutes and just going with Pietrus / Barnes as needed at SF. Also, Gortat needs more minutes behind Dwight or he needs to be traded … why match that contract if he never plays? Bass is just as good as a backup center as Gortat and if we package Nelson and Gortat we can get an actual PG who can score, defend and pass. Nothing against Jameer but he hasn’t been the same since knee surgery last year. I just feel like the team as it is isn’t good enough to get out of the conference semi finals in the East.