The Epic Magic Trade

Yesterday, the Orlando Magic traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus to the Suns for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark and then sent Rashard Lewis to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas. As an ardent Magic fan, I can’t help but comment on these trades and voice my displeasure at what Otis Smith has done.

My main beef with these moves is they don’t make us better. We haven’t played well since that stomach virus took out half of our rotation, but we’re still one of the top teams in the East and there’s no need to panic when we’ve been successful with the same core for several years now. In fact, the only trade I would’ve made is for another top 10 player like Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony. A massive shakeup like this mid-season  is risky for chemistry and team unity. It also makes no sense financially because VC’s contract is not guaranteed next year and we’re getting the awful contracts of Turkoglu and Arenas in return.

If it was just the Suns trade, I still wouldn’t be thrilled but at least I’d be okay with it. Straight up Richardson is an upgrade over VC and they do a lot of the same things. There’s some reason to believe that Turkoglu can play like he did two years ago with Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard again so it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Aside from the financial implications, my only concern is throwing Gortat in the deal. We’re really thin at center right now behind Howard and completely screwed if he gets hurt or into foul trouble.

My bigger problem is with the Wizards trade. Gun incident aside, I’m not a fan of Arenas as a basketball player. To me, he’s never been more than a poor man’s Allen Iverson. He scores a lot, but doesn’t make his teammates better and takes too many bad shots. Position-wise he’s a poor fit for this team. Jameer is definitely our starting PG and Arenas isn’t good enough of a shooter to be our starting SG. I guess I can see him as a sixth man, but we’re still paying him too much. Plus he had that injury a few years ago that’s hurt his athleticism. I just can’t see him being a contributor when he couldn’t be effective next to John Wall in Washington. While Lewis has been playing horribly this year and I always thought he was overplayed, at least he can be a mismatch on offense and stretch the floor.

Most importantly, the trades do nothing to address the main reason for the Magic’s recent slide: poor defense. None of these guys are good defenders whereas we gave up Mickael Pietrus who did a solid job against Lebron and Kobe in the playoffs. In fact I’m worried that we’ve traded or let go of defenders like Courtney Lee and Matt Barnes these last few years and replaced them with mediocre shooters. I don’t know who’s going to guard Lebron, Wade, Pierce or Allen in the playoffs. I also want to see us get a backup center preferably by trading Quentin Richardson or Chris Duhon if we want any chance against the Celtics or Lakers.

Overall I’m not a fan of the new look Magic. They might be a fun team in NBA Live, but there’s not enough size and defense for a real playoff run. I completely agree with Bill Simmons’ assessment of what Orlando should’ve done. But hey maybe Arenas will turn his game around. I wasn’t a fan of the Vick signing either but it’s worked out (for the most part) since then.

12 Days of Christmas: My Picks

It’s that time of year again. Classes are over and finals are here to ruin my birthday and make the next week and a half (a very cold) hell. The only redeeming aspect is that Christmas comes after I’m done and in the mean time I can listen to plenty of Christmas music. I’m pretty open with my musical choices and Christmas music is no exception, but I do have a few favorites that I will play more often. So here is my top 12 holiday picks this year that I will be listening to over and over again as I trudge through finals:

Christmas Light, Coldplay- Coldplay’s one of my favorite bands and they released an excellent Christmas track this year. It’s a different take on Christmas, but they stuck to their style and made a great sweet and sentimental song. Plus the music video has some gratuitous shots of London and the Thames!

12 Days of Christmas, Straight No Chaser- This song’s been out for a few years now, but I still appreciate its clever arrangement and how it incorporates everything from Deck the Halls to Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, to Africa. Always fun to listen to.

Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano- Helped me learn Spanish, lol!

Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms- One of my favorite nontraditional Christmas classics.

A New York City Christmas, Rob Thomas- Rob Thomas is one of my favorite contemporary singers and he did an excellent Christmas song a few years ago. It makes me want to go to NYC every year.

A Mad Russian’s Christmas, Trans-Siberian Orchestra- What’s better than the Nutcracker, remixed with electric guitars?

Somewhere In My Memory, Home Alone- One of my favorite movies as a kid and this song just makes me want to be home for Christmas.

All I Want For Christmas Is You, NOTA- When it’s not overplayed, I like Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, but I think this a capella version is even better. I love the horns and just the overall jazzy feel.

Christmas Time Is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio- Classic song from a classic holiday film.

Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, Trans-Siberian Orchestra- The song that introduced me to Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

White Christmas, Bing Crosby- Classic. Who doesn’t dream of a white Christmas?

Sleigh Ride, Boston Pops- To me, nothing says Christmas like this song. Perfection.