Blogtable: Magic better, worse, same?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

This week:

The Suns: Playoff team for sure now, or not?

Pick a winner Saturday and tell us why: Heat or Lakers.

And …

Magic: Better, worse or the same after the big trade?

David Aldridge: Better ballhandling, less equipped to beat the Celtics, better potential matchups with the Heat. Never has the relationship between a player and management — specifically, Gilbert Arenas and GM/president Otis Smith — been so important to the future of a franchise. If Gil is ready and/or able to be a dominant force again, Orlando could yet get out of the East. Anything short of that is a disaster.

Fran Blinebury: Different.  I don’t think Gilbert Arenas would have been high on my list — or even on my list at all — as players who are going to help solidify the lineup, calm things down and get Dwight Howard closer to the championship that Orlando needs to prevent him from catching the Shaq Express out of town.  Hedo Turkoglu returns to a place and a style of play where he seems most comfortable. The biggest catch in the deal for the Magic is Jason Richardson, who can  finish on the break and hit the 3-pointer.  I don’t think this pulls them even with Boston or Miami and the situation will test Stan Van Gundy‘s sanity.  But the old lineup was withering on the vine and wouldn’t even have gotten close.  Bold deal.  But I still think they’re No. 3 in the East.

Art Garcia: They can’t be any worse. Hedo Turkoglu is back in the city of his greatest success, Gilbert Arenas is out of the city of his demise and Jason Richardson delivers in whatever city he’s in. On the minus side, Marcin Gortat was a nice insurance policy, but an insurance policy nonetheless, and Vince Carter is way more man and far less amazing these days. The Magic needed a wakeup call and a reason to keep Dwight Howard engaged. This trade does both.

Scott Howard-Cooper: The same. It’s a different set of problems now. Orlando will get a bounce coming out of the trade, the way big trades tend to shake up a locker room and create new energy. And that’s good for a team that had been struggling. But the Magic will be worse on defense after dealing Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat, especially since the Pietrus departure comes after they didn’t re-sign another wing defender, Matt Barnes. Dwight Howard is a great safety net, but he can’t guard five guys.

Shaun Powell: They’re better, because Gilbert is an upgrade over Rashard Lewis and Jason Richardson over Vince Carter, but how much better? Remember, Orlando reached Game 6 of the conference finals with the old crew. And here are the concerns: Weakness at backup center and the potential of some woof-woof performances from Hedo and Gilbert, who barked a little in their last stops.

John Schuhmann: As someone who picked them to win the championship, I hope they’re better! There’s no clear explanation for why a team that was so good last season was playing so mediocre this year. If the trade invigorates Gilbert and Hedo, the Magic should be improved offensively, and that’s the area where they’ve really fallen off. The defense will likely suffer, but with Dwight in the middle and Stan on the bench, they’re still going to be good on that end. So as long as the new guys play well, they will be better overall.

Sekou Smith: The fact that this question is being asked provides the most telling answer. This looks much more like a reshuffling of the deck than it does anything else. The Magic had issues before the trades and they have issues now. It starts with how to play Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas in the same rotation at the same position without upsetting an already delicate balance in the locker room. There’s also the problem of a backup big man for Dwight Howard. The best team in the Eastern Conference is loaded in the frontcourt with Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, Glen Davis and eventually, Kendrick Perkins. Howard doesn’t stand a chance in the playoffs facing that sort of firepower.


  1. The orlando magic are a better team we got more athletic with the trade and a bit younger it looks like we have a good team after beating the best in the west and the best in the east both with 10+winning streaks all we need is a better big man (center) to give howard a breather from time to time. When was the last time Chris duhon,Jason williams,quienton richardson did something i really can’t wait till they trade those scrubs that don;t play because of the ammount of guards we have i would love to have Tony battie back someone with hustle and size we are to small to play agaisnt most teams.

  2. mhatch says:

    I think the last 2 games sealed the deal. Orlando is better! In today’s win over the Celtics, Dwight only had 6 pts and 11 boards and they still won. How did that happen before the trade. Of course he had 4 fouls early in the second half and had to play conservatively. Jason Richardson is still streaky, but Hedo looks very comfortable already.
    I think the loss of Gortat hurt the Magic’s depth at that position but everything else was positive.

    Ditto Phoenix. All the players they picked up can only help them. Even V. Carter is a better fit for Nash than Hedo was. I never understood why the Suns picked up Hedo in the first place. He didn’t’t fit their offensive or defensive schemes.

    Boston took a hit today. Shaq was exposed as just a big hacker with 2 pts and 5 fouls. KG had a good game, but Pierce and Ray Ray just can’t shoot as well as they used to.The Celtics ran out of gas again in the 4th which is a pattern they exhibited all last year and of course their performance in NBA Finals Game 7 punctuated that. With the emergence of the Heat I really think Boston will have a tough time keeping the top spot in the East.

  3. Lakers says:

    I think Boston is still a better team and I don’t think they’ll be better than the Heat! They, (Orlando), will be a very good team though, and competitive in the playoffs!

  4. Saason says:

    Sekou nailed it !

  5. renz_garnett says:

    i know that their players are all-stars.. gilbert arenas j-rich dwight and jameer. i dont consider hedo a good power forward or small forward.. he is too weak for me. yes he is a great passer and a shooter.. but no defense at all. hey.. how about.. NASH trade to NELSON.. that would bring the playoff run to magic..

  6. gary says:

    They picked up some really good shooters and slashers and they’re already good inside to me. People better watch out for these guys.

  7. Lakers says:

    Fortunately for Orlando D Howard is a Karl Malone type super healthy super physique kind of guy! He should stay healthy!

  8. Lakers says:

    I don’t think they’ll be much worse because they landed some All-star type players. They are weaker at the center position; which I think is a bad move! Especially with the interior strength of the elite teams such as Boston, Lakers, Dallas, SA! They only have to hope and pray that Dwight Howard doesn’t go down with an injury! A chemistry has to be built with the new players also, which may take some time!

  9. fire the gm for even bringing vince carter to the team. vince carter’s history is to dominate in the regular season and fade fade fade in the playoffs. rashad lewis was the go to player when they needed a basket in the finals and then you bring in a guy at same position. the history of recent nba champions is to have dominating big men, more than one. boston and la in the finals.

  10. larissa says:



  11. Josh says:

    Magic will probably be the 6 or 7 seed and won’t get past the second round!! The trade was horrible and they will never win a championship with Howard being the number one option on the offensive end. This team will never gel with the new players. Might as well start over.

  12. Ryan says:

    Pietreus and Gortat help you just as much as they can kill you, Vince and Lewis were just old. Once the new players learn the defensive roation I think they the Magic will be a better team. Hedo an Nelson shot selection can be rather ill advised at crunch time, but nobody is perfect…

  13. Niels says:

    Isn’t there a posibility that ORL does another trade? I (a magic fan) would like to see arenas trade for Timberwolve Beasley 😉
    or am i dreaming?

  14. sam says:

    hey sekou not to question but who says the gil-jam thing is an issue? You? cuase too me they got gil to potentialy play aside jam and if he doesn’t work we got jj or j rich has insurance i see no issue

  15. John says:

    Very much like the heat, the beginning was a struggle-but look at them now. This was an absolutely great move on the Magic’s part. They only lost by 6 points by one of the most dominant teams in the league while the heat lost by more than that the previous night. Call me crazy, but I am willing to bet that tonight, the Magic will feast on snapping San Antonio’s streak. Tonight will mark the beginning of an Orlando Magic winning streak as these group of scorers grow closer with each other on the hard wood.

  16. Magic says:

    It’s a good trade but the magic need to get a backup big man, Dwight gets into foul trouble a lot. Hedo will play better I
    Still hav hope in him same goes for gill

  17. Ryan says:

    I think the trade will help them.They can still get a good backup center and even a wingman defense specialist.The Magic will struggle to but eventually they’ll play better 2nd half of the season get a 3 or 4th and they going to contend for the title

    • john says:

      There’s no way Magic are better after the trade!!! MAGIC are GOING NOWHERE!!! TRUST ME!!!

    • Bunbury says:

      It’ hard to tell whether the Magic will be better after this trade. Personally, they look the same on paper. It really depends on how these new additions fit and how much they get from them indiviually. They expect the Hedo from 2009 and the Gilbert of 3-4 years ago. Every team and the media always have optimictic point of views after trades– they tend to see only the positve aspects of the trades and think all teams will be better. The Magic received three explosive scorers, and will be better offensively—– but they gave up some defense. Pietreus and Gortat were solid defenders and believe me they wont get that from Turkoglu, Arenas, and Richardson.

  18. ATG says:

    I like the trade. It will give them more fluidity offensively and they have guys that can create their own shots, which was sorely missing. They could easily create problems for opponents in flexibility in pace. Slower half court ball with Howard, and an increase in pace when Howard is out resting, go small and run Gilbert, Jason, Jameer, and Hedo. They kind of have a back up big man in Bass, whom they use sparingly as a 4 as it is so he should be able to give Howard some relief with the faster line up. The chemistry is in my opinion the only real risk (and of course if Howard goes out for an extensive period of time, but so would any franchise if they would loose their franchise player).

  19. Wait a Minute says:

    I think the magic are better skill wise, but i think they’re smaller as a team which is a big factor playing teams like Celtics, Lakers, and Mavs.