The Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets are reported to be extremely close to finalizing a trade that would send Vince Carter and Ralph Anderson to Orlando for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie.
The trade would seem to make sense for both parties. The Magic would get an excellent player and more star power in Carter and the Nets would get two expiring contracts and a promising young rookie in Courtney Lee. Makes sense for both teams. Orlando becomes an even more serious and threatening force in the east and puts the pressure on Cleveland and Boston to load up as well to contend with them. Adding Vince Carter to a line up that already features Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson would make it highly likely for Orlando to contend for at least the Eastern Conference title next year, provided that the team also manages to convince Hedo Turkoglu to stick around. Turkoglu will opt out of his contract to enter free agency and test the open market this summer.
The move is more financial in the case of the Nets. They would remove Vince Carter’s contract from their books and would clear a reported 16.5 million when Rafer Alston and Tony Battie’s contracts expire at the end of the 2009-10 season. This would put them in a great position to compete for the stellar free agent class in the summer of 2010 and would also place them well below the salary cap.
I’m having a tough time figuring out how the move makes financial sense for the Magic though. Adding Vince Carter’s 14.7 million dollar contract to a team with several highly paid players and trying to resign Turkoglu would be a tall order indeed. Hedo is reportedly looking to make at least 10 million annually and is looking for a long term deal. Turkoglu is very likely to be overpaid on the open market based on his performance in matchups against the Celtics and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference and a finals series against the LA Lakers.
It’s also a risky move given that the Orlando Magic’s back up for Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat will also be looking for a long and lucrative contract after a tremendous post season performance and is likely to command big money on the open market. Giving up Tony Battie and losing Marcin Gortat to free agency could spell big trouble for Orlando . They would be giving up two big men while their competitors in the East are looking to add big men. This could create match up problems for the Magic.
All in all, it’s looking to be a busy night for the Orlando Magic, despite having no picks in tonights NBA draft.