John Denton, usually a reliable source for inside Magic information, believes the team is interested in acquiring forward Mickael Pietrus from the Golden State Warriors. From Florida Today:
Could a Magic team that has been strangely inconsistent for weeks be shopping [Keyon] Dooling, or even point guard Carlos Arroyo, who moved into the starting lineup four games ago?
Magic guard J.J. Redick, another player who could be used in a potential trade, is again out of Stan Van Gundy's rotation and has to be wondering if he'll ever get his shot in Orlando.
The Magic aren't allowed to comment on players on opposing teams, but they are keeping their eye on the availability of Golden State small forward Mickael Pietrus. Orlando made an attempt to nab Pietrus last summer when he was a restricted free agent. He has been buried on the bench all season behind Matt Barnes and Al Harrington. Golden State, meanwhile, is in the market for a point guard. Troy Hudson is out for the season, and Baron Davis' minutes have been increasing.
I hope this rumor is false. Trading either Carlos or Keyon for Pietrus would be horrible for two reasons:
- Either trade would move Jameer Nelson back to the starting lineup. Given how well he has played off the bench so far (15.3 points per game on 50% shooting), it wouldn't be wise to change his role.
- The Magic have no use for Pietrus, a small forward known for his three-point shooting (nearly 39% for his career) and defense. He's certainly not a bad player, but I don't see how he helps the Magic, especially at the expense of the team's weakest position, depth-wise.
Trading Redick makes a little more sense, but not much. Redick's contract doesn't match up with Pietrus', so the Magic would have to include another player to make the trade work. Adonal Foyle fits the bill, but leaves the Magic with only James Augustine and Marcin Gortat to back up Dwight Howard at center. As much as the Warriors would love to get Foyle back -- a fan-favorite in the bay area, Foyle played 10 seasons with them before they bought him out this summer -- the Magic can't afford to part with their best backup center, especially when doing so won't yield a quality rebounder in return.
Golden State is just not a good trading partner for us. Sure, they need a point guard, and we have two who would work well in their system. However, they don't have anyone who could help us. Our biggest weakness is offensive rebounding: we're 27th in the league in offensive rebound percentage. The Warriors don't have any outstanding offensive rebounders except for Andris Biedrins and DJ Mbenga. The former is due for a hefty contract extension next summer and the latter is a foul machine, committing one foul for every four minutes he plays. Further, because he was signed as a free-agent, Mbenga will not be trade-eligible until February 17th, or three months after the day he signed. The NBA's trading deadline is February 21st. Surely the Warriors want to acquire a backup point guard before then, which is why Mbenga is not viable.
If there's a way for the Magic to make a trade for a productive rebounder with a reasonable contract without giving up Hedo Turkoglu, that should be Otis Smith's priority. Consider the small-forward depth on this team already: Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Maurice Evans, and Keith Bogans can all play the position. Why add yet another player there? It just doesn't make any sense, at least from an Orlando perspective.
Even Tom Washington agrees that this trade would be no good for Orlando.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
For the record, Golden State could not deal Pietrus to Orlando for either Arroyo or Dooling straight-up; the salaries do not match. In any scenario, Golden State would have to include a player with a small expiring contract. Kelenna Azubuike, Austin Croshere, Monta Ellis, and Troy Hudson all work. However, the Warriors are unlikely to part with Ellis, who won last year's Most Improved Player award, or Azubuike, who has played well. That leaves Croshere or Hudson as the throw-in player.
Both trades would give the Magic 16 players under contract, over the league maximum of 15. Whichever throw-in the Warriors included would be the one the Magic send packing, especially if it's Hudson, whose career may be over.
Read about Warriors fans' perspective in this diary at Golden State of Mind. As you might expect, they're are chomping at the bit to get this deal made; so far, there's only one voice of dissent in the comments of that discussion.
Does acquiring Mickael Pietrus make sense for the Magic?
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Yes, but they have higher priorities to address before making that deal