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Orlando Magic News for February 26th: An Inside Look Into The Rafer Alston Trade

Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton shot me a link via e-mail early this morning, in which the URL took me to the Houston Rocket's official team website. The article that loaded up (posted today) was a Q/A conducted with Rockets GM Daryl Morey. The site's staff writer asked Morey a variety of questions, including his thoughts on the recent three-team deal that was executed between the Memphis Grizzlies, the Orlando Magic, and the Houston Rockets.

Here's what the general manager from Houston had to say:

JCF: Of course. But on a serious note, I do want to ask about how that deal evolved and hear a little about its background. I assume it didn’t start out as a three-way deal... 

DM: It is rare to get a pure three-way deal. There are a lot of three-way deals, but they’re usually like our Bobby Jackson deal last year where it’s like, ‘We’ve got a deal, and I’ve got to get rid of this one guy, so where do I send him to make it work?’

But this was a pure three-way. Lowry has always been a guy we’ve targeted. We didn’t really have the first round pick that Memphis wanted. It was a tough deal to bring together because, while we had a sense of what maybe Memphis would want for Lowry, we didn’t have a sense for what Orlando was willing to give up for either Lowry or Rafer.

We did not know they were willing to give up a first round pick until the morning of the trade deadline. They were obviously hoping to give up less just like we are always trying to maximize our position in a trade. Meanwhile, Orlando and Memphis were looking at doing a deal directly moving Lowry to Orlando. It came together once Orlando was clear about what they were willing to do. In the end, Orlando appeared to strongly prefer the Rafer three-way and was willing to give up the first for that deal, but maybe not the direct Memphis deal.

So it came together at the last minute because there were details of other pieces in the trade, like the three other players who were in it, and each team tried to extract more value, whether in terms of picks or where contracts would end up. Once the deadline got close, it ended up finalizing in the pretty simple form that it ended up being as each team wanted the deal and all were not willing to add any more value.

JCF: When you make a deal like that, is there an element of fear or doubt as you’re pulling the trigger?

DM: There’s no certainty, but I wouldn’t call it fear or doubt, I’d call it risk. There’s some risk to every move, obviously. I think the youth of Kyle, and also his playing time in Memphis - and why he didn’t get more playing time - is an example of one risk factor, and that has to factor into the decision. So there is a lot of risk that you take on, but I think we ended up believing in our evaluation and you could easily talk through why Memphis didn’t play him, which had to do with reasons that did not necessarily have to do with his ability.

But focusing on that risk is how you end up with good deals because you make sure you can at least understand all the questions, chase them down as much as possible and then at some point you have to say, ‘Alright, I’m willing to take a certain amount of risk for questions I can’t answer.’

So we’ll see. I mean, we’re three games in, it is still very early at this point. We think it was a good calculated risk, but we won’t know until, frankly, a few years. That’s usually how these things go.

If you would like to read the full transcript of Morey's interview, click here