The Orlando Magic greatly increased their chances at making some noise in the NBA Playoffs, and although the Heat's James-Bosh-Wade trio will be a tough assignment, the Magic have positioned themselves for a legit run at Miami and Boston in the East.
The key to this deal for Orlando is Arenas. If he can get back to his pre-injury/gun-totting ways and focus on basketball, he's still one of the best play-makers in the NBA at age 28. And Warrior fans are well aware of J-Rich's abilities when he's on, he can be an explosive scoring 2-guard. All the Magic had to part with were the aging and in-effective Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis. I know contract issues probably have a lot to do with this deal, but talent wise, I'd say the Magic robbed Washington blind. Again, a big part of it will be Arenas getting healthy and on track, but he doesn't even necessarily have to start since Orlando has Jameer Nelson on board, so they can ease him back into his full, starting load, which doesn't look too far off. Richardson, on the other hand, is having one of his better season's of his career averaging nearly 20 points and 5 boards per night. So after this deal, the Magic starting-5 look like this:
PG: Gilbert Arenas/Jameer Nelson
SG: Jason Richardson
SF: Hedo Turkoglu
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Dwight Howard
This also strengthens their bench. They have Quentin Richardson, Jameer Nelson (or Arenas if he doesn't start), Ryan Anderson, Chris Duhon and JJ Reddick all playing big roles off the bench. The one upside the Magic have on Boston and Miami is that they have that 7-foot beast in Howard, who is heads and shoulders above the other centers in the South East Conference. I can't wait to see the new-look Magic take on the so called "best talented NBA team" in the Miami Heat. If Howard and Arenas are both healthy and on their game, my bet goes to the Magic.