Magic acquire cash and $10 million trade exception for PF Hedo Turkoglu
Magic acquire G/F Vince Carter and PF Ryan Anderson from Nets for PG Rafer Alston, PF Tony Battie, SG Courtney Lee
2008-09 Season Summary:
This past season was a magical one in Orlando, as the Magic emerged as one of the elite teams in the league, advancing to the NBA Finals for just the second time in the franchise's brief history. Despite the fact that Orlando was defeated by the Lakers in five games, the team cannot be disappointed with their '08-'09 campaign.
The success of the Magic directly correlates with Dwight Howard continuing to develop into one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. What put Orlando over the top though was the effectiveness of the players around Superman. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu came up clutch in late-game situations, providing outside threats to compliment Howard's presence inside. Even though Jameer Nelson missed the final two-plus months of the regular season, and pretty much the entire playoffs, the Magic didn't miss much of a beat as the trade deadline acquisition of Rafer Alston helped fill the void. Courtney Lee seems like he will prove to be a steal of a late first round draft pick and should be an important piece of the puzzle for years to come. If Orlando can keep this core together, they should remain in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.
1. Re-sign Hedo - With his exposure during the post-season, Hedo Turkoglu made a no-brainer of a decision by opting out of his $7.3 million player option for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent. Turkoglu is a very valuable asset to the Magic with his outside game and the match-up issues he causes for opposing defenses. He is expecting to cash in on a new long-term contract that will pay him in the ballpark of $10-$12 million a year. Orlando should be active in trying to bring Hedo back, but do they have financial ability to do so? The Magic have A LOT of money invested in Howard and Lewis through 2013 and may be hesitant about inking Turkoglu to an expensive, multi-year deal. If they want to win now though, they have no choice but to show Hedo the money.
2. Depth up front - Like Turkoglu, back-up center Marcin Gortat made himself a nice payday this off-season with a solid performance in the post-season. Gortat is a restricted free agent meaning the Magic can match any offer sheet he signs with another team this summer. Several teams will likely be willing to add the Polack, possibly even offering up their entire mid-level exception. There in lies another investment the Magic will have to consider. If Gortat proves to be too pricey, Orlando will need to find a cheaper alternative to provide some depth behind Howard.
3. Perimeter defensive stopper - While Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus are very serviceable on the defensive end, Lewis and Turkoglu lack that stopper mentality as their game mostly revolves around offense. If Orlando can add an athletic forward in the Trevor Ariza-mold, he could provide the lockdown perimeter defense to slow down the likes of Kobe, who at times had his way with the Magic D'. With no draft picks or cap flexibility, they will need to find a bargain of a deal to fill this role.