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Trading Keith Bogans for Tyronn Lue Makes Sense for the Orlando Magic

As you've no doubt heard by now, the Orlando Magic have traded shooting guard Keith Bogans to the Milwaukee Bucks for point guard Tyronn Lue. This swap of two backups allows both teams to plug roster holes created by injuries to their usual starters. Orlando's Jameer Nelson will likely miss the rest of the regular season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, while Milwaukee's Michael Redd will definitely miss the rest of the season with a torn MCL and ACL. Obviously, nobody expects Lue to duplicate Nelson's numbers, or Bogans to replicate Redd's. The trade merely provides teams with some much-needed depth.

The reaction on Orlando's side has been mixed, but mostly negative. Commenters on this site wanted Magic GM Otis Smith to make a bigger move, perhaps acquiring younger talent. Others, including my colleague erivera7, believe the Magic could have gotten more in return for Bogans, who has a valuable expiring contract.

Brian Schmitz, however, calls the deal "pretty decent," and I tend to agree with him. For me, the biggest issue regarding a trade for Nelson's replacement wasn't necessarily his talent, but rather his salary. Other on-the-trading-block point guards like Oklahoma City's Earl Watson and Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley are better than Lue, but have contracts that run longer than this season. It was important for Orlando to obtain a player whose contract expired in order to maintain salary-cap flexibility to re-sign Hedo Turkoglu this summer. Although the Magic haven't made a formal announcement, I believe this trade signals that Nelson's season is over, and that the Magic will try to re-load this summer by re-signing Turkoglu and getting Nelson back healthy. They'll make their championship run next year, in other words.

I am indeed sympathetic to people like Scott from Ridiculous Upside, who wanted the Magic to look to the D-League to sign a young player instead of a retread like Lue. That's just not Smith's style, though. The Magic have not made a D-League call-up since 2004, when Smith was still an assistant GM. Further, he values NBA experience--perhaps to a fault, in this case--and Lue provides that, as a member of two NBA championship teams. In this case, the Magic needed someone who could learn an offense quickly and contribute. There's no time for them to develop a young player, given their solid hold on the Eastern Conference's third seed and the likelihood that they'll have to go through both Cleveland and Boston if they hope to make the NBA Finals. There's no question that point guard is still a long-term area of need for the Magic; they need a young guy they can groom into Nelson's backup eventually. The trade of Bogans for Lue is a short-term fix that will not compromise the team's long-term goal of winning a championship.

Ultimately, I'm not thrilled with the move, but the Magic got what they needed: a competent point guard who can shoot three-pointers and get out of the way. They also cleared the logjam at the shooting guard position; Bogans, Courtney Lee, J.J. Redick, and Mickael Pietrus have each started for the Magic at various points this season. Bogans had fallen well out of the rotation lately, and was thus expendable. Lue is not by any means a great NBA player, or even a good one. But given the Magic's specific situation--lots of shooting guards, only one healthy point guard--he can give them more than Bogans could have were he to stay.

If you're still seething, think of it this way: at least it's not Trevor Ariza for Maurice Evans and Brian Cook, amIrite?

Head over to BrewHoop, SB Nation's Bucks blog, for the Milwaukee perspective. So far, the reaction is muted, to say the least.