Multiple news sources, including ESPN's Chris Broussard, report the Orlando Magic have agreed to trade Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a first-round draft pick, and cash to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark. Orlando has yet to make a formal announcement about the trade, but given the volume and caliber of the reporting, the deal indeed looks nearly official as possible, without officially earning that designation. Brian Serra of MagicBasketballOnline first reported Pietrus' inclusion in the trade.
Richardson, a ten-year veteran swingman, is scoring 19.3 points in 31.8 minutes per game this season and connecting on 41.9 percent of his three-point tries. He strikes me as the most significant player in this trade from Orlando's perspective, as his ability to knock down open three-pointers and elevate for jump shots off the dribble should boost its weak offense. His contract expires after this season.
The bigger draw, from a narrative perspective, is Turkoglu's return to Orlando. The Magic acquired Carter following their 2009 NBA Finals run ostensibly to upgrade Turkoglu's spot on that team, with Turkoglu departing in free agency a few weeks later. When viewed this way, the Magic had a second chance to choose between Carter and Turkoglu, and this time they sided with Turkoglu. The combo forward with point guard skills has struggled since leaving the Magic; perhaps a return to Stan Van Gundy's offense, which helped make him the league's Most Improved Player in the 2007/08 season, will fix what ails him. As my SB Nation colleague Seth Pollack writes, Turkoglu has frustrated the Suns in myriad ways this year.
Clark, a lottery pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, is a long-term prospect. In 60 games over two seasons, Clark has played just 455 minutes and made 38.7 percent of his shot attempts. At 6-foot-10 with some handling skills, the left-hander has intriguing physical tools, but is not expected to be an impact player right away.
Gortat may prove to be the Magic's best asset, as the young backup center plays with energy, defends, rebounds, and has soft hands. There's little doubt he will develop into a solid center for Phoenix, which desperately needs a player with his skills in the middle. Oddly, the Suns are Gortat's original team, but the Magic acquired his draft rights from Phoenix.
This trade leaves Orlando without three rotation players for tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, and another deal may be on the way. Rashard Lewis could be headed to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas in very short order.