I have aired my views yesterday on the trades. I have always considered Otis Smith an average GM, but this was Isaiah Thomas like stints. I think we should look at the trades with WAS and PHO separately, and I actually believe they were separate, indeed, despite Smith's futile attempt to connect them in order to mask the negatives while magnifying the positives. I reiterate that these trades - long before trade deadline - were unnecessary since the team had a good record - beating MIA and thumping CHI - on a 10 out of 11 record prior to falling apart due to illness and injuries. None of the games played on the last road trip were representative of the team's competencies.
Trade with WAS:
I have fewer problems with Arenas' trade in terms of pros and cons. Counting luxury tax, we save about $8M for the first two years - compared to Lewis' salary - but we will be on the hook for the full salary on the third year. I am not worried about Arenas' tainted history as I believe it was a mistake and should be behind him. If anything, we should consider that as a positive for somebody who wants to start with a clean slate redeeming himself. His knees, however, are unproven commodities never tested through the rigors of one full grueling NBA year. Haven’t we learnt enough from Grant Hill's situation?
Trade with PHO:
1 - The trade with PHO is foolish – in and of itself - on the count of losing the only back-up center on a team which needs reinforcement on frontline to compete with BOS and LAL, to start with. This lack of size cannot be overstated enough since we don't have the assets to trade for a decent center, none whatsoever.
2 – We have traded our best perimeter defender - in Pietrus - leaving us with Quentin Richardson to defend the likes of James and Wade. That negates our front-line advantage over MIA, if there is any advantage after losing Gortat.
4 – The worst part was acquiring Hedo, a player worth MLE salary at his prime, and now supposedly on decline due to age and performance of near past. How soon we forget that Smith was not willing to pay him more than $9M a year but now is willing to pay him in excess of $10M per year which actually – counting luxury tax - costs in excess of $2M extra per year. If anything has been obvious in Hedo’s last 1¼ year performance, one may note his lack of team spirit and – in particular – his inability to adjust to new systems. Hedo comes back to a Magic team which does not have Rashard any more to allow Hedo the space to operate at SF, whether for passing or drive to the basket. Considering his inability to adjust, I predict that we will see more of Hedo’s ill-advised jump-shots and hair-splitting TOs, which have been the shortfalls of this gifted player. I will leave his lack of defense – using his hands more than moving his feet – to others to cover.
I want to be positive since I love my hometown team, but refuse to be “foolishly positive”, and that is why I refrain from airing my views, from hereon. You may say I am waiting until the team improves then jump on the bandwagon. I will say, nothing pleases me more than admitting that I was wrong, if that happens to be the case. You may label it as you wish.