Wow! Talk about a deal to shake things up. I still can’t get a handle on whether or not the Magic trading for Orlando native and 8-time All Star, ex-Toronto Raptor, ex-New Jersey Net Vince Carter is a good thing or bad. And apparently I’m not alone, since an Orlando Sentinel poll showed that 49% liked the Carter/Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, and Tony Battie deal, while 50% did not.
I was resigned to losing Alston and Battie for financial reasons, since I figured the Magic needed to dump their salaries to be able to sign Hedo Turkoglu when he opted out of the last year of his current contract. But when Hedo’s agent rejected their first offer (apparently far below the $10 mil per for 5 years that Hedo was looking for), I think the Magic couldn’t let him just walk and get nothing in return (a la Shaq so many years ago). So when they had a chance to acquire a former All-Star and hometown boy (especially one that can create his own shot at the end of games), they jumped at it. And though he’s a couple of years older than Hedo, Carter’s stats (granted, on a far less balanced team) were better with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.
No one’s happy about letting go of Courtney Lee, who had a terrific rookie season, especially on the defensive side. And would I rather have Hedo and Courtney on the team than Vince Carter? I’d say YES, but waiting or negotiating for that possibility may have blown up in the Magic’s faces. It’s a shame Orlando is already breaking up a team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals and lost at least a couple of games to inexperience, not necessarily lack of talent. But GM Otis Smith has rolled the dice and gambled that Carter’s offensive talents and versatility (though not as unique as Hedo’s) will blend with his other 3 All-Stars and produce a championship. Now let’s see what he can do about the Power Forward spot and the bench. Antonio McDyess (sp?) for a start sounds pretty good to me.