Apparently while I was out shopping the stores for Christmas presents for my wife, the Orlando Magic were doing some shopping of their own as they pulled off not one, but two big time trades in the span of a few hours. It’s surprising to see a team only two years removed from the finals completely change the makeup of the team this way, but the Magic are about winning and winning now and they knew that to compete with the big boys like Miami and Boston they had to do something and do it now, and boy did they do something.
The trades by the magic today were two separate trades, one with the Wizards and one with the Suns. We are going to cover the impact of both trades in this article though to keep things concise and give the best perspective on the fantasy impact of these moves.
Washington Wizards Get
Rashard Lewis: This move was more about making the Washington Wizards John Wall’s team than it was about acquiring Rashard Lewis. That said though, Lewis will step right in and become a key part of the team. Lewis will either overtake the inconsistent Al Thornton as the starting small forward or he’ll start at power forward with Andray Blatche moving to Center and the also inconsistent JeVale McGee will hit the bench. My assumption is that Thornton will be the one finding the pine, as despite McGee’s inconsistencies, he’s got a tremendous amount of upside and this team isn’t going anywhere fast. If Thornton goes to the bench he should be dropped in all formats, even as a starter he’s not been real productive.
I would expect Lewis to take on a bit larger role on offense in Washington than he was in Orlando, where he was only taking 10 – 11 shots per game. His FG% is currently a career worst 41.9% and I think the more looks he gets he’lll start to find his rhythm and you’ll see that and his point total move up. From here on out I’d expect around 14 – 15 points per game.
One thing moving Gilbert Arenas does do is free up minutes in the backcourt. With Wall coming back soon we were going to see a logjam that would force both Kirk Hinrich and Nick Young to lose minutes most likely, now both guys should maintain a high amount of minutes and continue to be contributors all year, even with Wall back.
The wild card in this whole thing is the impending season debut of Josh Howard and how he’ll fit into this rotation.
Wizards Value Up: Rashard Lewis, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Young
Wizards Value Down: Al Thornton, potentially JeVale McGee
Phoenix Suns Get
Vince Carter: I hope the Suns have a good retirement plan in place for their players, because they just keep adding over the hill veterans. However, I do like this move for Vince. The Suns are the number one scoring team in the NBA and they just got rid of their leading scorer which leaves a pretty big hole to fill. Carter has looked better this year than in the past and has looked especially good lately with 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in December. I don’t know if Carter will take up all 19 points per game that Jason Richardson leaves behind, but Carter should be able to average 17 – 18 per game in this offense as the likely number one scoring option, which he wasn’t in Orlando.
Mickeal Pietrus: He’s going to continue to be a backup in Phoenix just like in Orlando, this time backing up Grant Hill and likely Carter as well. He’ll see a slight jump in minutes due to the fact that Hill is up there an age and so is Carter, but he probably won’t top 20 – 25 minutes per game. He is a good fit in Phoenix though as they love guys who can shoot and Pietrus’ game right there. Unless we see something significant though, I don’t think his value goes up enough to warrant a spot in anything but the deepest of leagues.
Marcin Gortat: This one might be the wild card of the deal. He’s not fantasy relevant immediately, but he could work his way there. The Suns just got Robin Lopez back and so Gortat is likely going to take over the backup Center job from Earl Barron. But since he is no longer backing up the best Center he could see some more minutes. It’s just a question of whether he can fit into an up tempo athletic driven system that Phoenix runs. For now his value doesn’t change a lot, but it has the potential too.
Suns Value Up: Vince Carter
Suns Value Down: Earl Barron
Orlando Magic Get
Gilbert Arenas: It’s hard to judge exactly how the move will affect the fantasy value of Arenas and other until we see how the Magic are going to use Arenas. He could start at the point over Jameer Nelson. He could start at shooting guard with Jason Richardson at small forward and he could be coming off the bench. He’s been playing nearly 35 minutes a game though and chances are that number is going to drop closer to 30 no matter where he plays. Arenas won’t likely take as many shots as he has been, but they should be better looks with more weapons around him. I expect he’ll maintain 16 – 17 points per game. The guy with the most to lose in all this is probably Nelson who could lose a lot of value if Arenas takes his job or even cuts into his minutes coming off the bench.
Jason Richardson: For all intents and purposes Jason Richardson has been the man in Phoenix this year as the number one scoring option for the number one scoring team in the league. He’s now going to contend with Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas for shots, so it’s not likely he continues to get 15 – 16 shots per game along with 19 points. But it does look as if he’ll be starting, and with Howard demanding so much attention he should get some good looks from the outside so he should continue knocking down 2 – 3 treys per game and I think he’ll likely end up averaging around 16 points per game much like Arenas.
Hedo Turkoglu: You think this guy is happy to be going back to Orlando? It’s been a tough year and a half for Turkey’s pride and joy. He was a key piece of Orlando’s 2009 title run, but he has been a big disappointment since. I expect he’ll step into a starting spot either small or power forward and should start playing 30 minutes a game for Stan Van. I expect an increase in stats across the board, especially rebounds and assists, but Howard is a much improved offensive big man now, and Richardson and Arenas are in town, so I can’t see Turk getting much more than 12 – 14 points per game. His value does go up though, maybe more than anyone on the Magic.
Earl Clark: He’s been a big disappointment so far in Phoenix and he’s only seen game action nine times this season. Going to Orlando won’t make him fantasy relevant, but he could see time as a backup small forward with Mickeal Pietrus leaving town.
Magic Value Up: Hedo Turkoglu
Magic Value Down: Jason Richardson, potentially Jameer Nelson
Summary: It’s going to take some time to see how this all shakes out and what different coaches do with their rotations before we can really determine who it helps and hurts the most overall. Depending on how rotations shake out though there is potential for some major shakeups in fantasy value due to these deals. You’ll just have to monitor the box scores and see how things are shaping up, and of course make sure to check back here to get our take on things as things become more clear. At this time though I have to say I think the biggest fantasy boost is probably going to Vince Carter or Hedo Turkoglu and the guy hurt the most here, other than Al Thornton, is Jason Richardson.