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Washburn: Orlando Magic, in Need of Backup Center, Could Receive Boris Diaw Offer from Charlotte Bobcats

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Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe advises his readers to "look for" the possibility the Charlotte Bobcats, looking to trim salary, to offer veteran big man Boris Diaw to the Orlando Magic for newly acquired swingman Jason Richardson. The Magic famously need size after trading prized backup center Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns in the deal that brought Richardson to Orlando, while Charlotte could use Richardson's $14.4 million expiring contract, as well as his scoring, to improve its standing in the ledger and on the scoreboard.

Washburn isn't alone. Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated also expects the Bobcats to try to unload Diaw, and names the Magic as a potential suitor due to their need for size and ability to dangle Richardson, a former Bobcat whom they acquired from Phoenix, oddly enough, in a deal involving Richardson.

The versatile Diaw won the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year Award during the 2005.06 season, his breakout campaign with Phoenix, in which he averaged 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. This season, he's posting 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists for a 9-19 Charlotte team in upheaval following the resignation of head coach Larry Brown and dismissal of his coaching staff.

Without Gortat, the Magic have made due by using power forward Brandon Bass, a starter, as Dwight Howard's backup so far. Malik Allen could also see rotation minutes there once he recovers from a sprained left ankle, which has rendered him unavailable for each of the Magic's last three games.

Otis Smith, Orlando's President of Basketball Operations, told the Orlando Sentinel this weekend adding a big man is "not high on my priority list right now." By his own admission, he will need one for the playoffs, however.

Even in light of Orlando's deficiency up front, it's hard to imagine them dealing Richardson for a big man of Diaw's caliber.