The only rumor concerning the Orlando Magic and a trade before the deadline involve Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph.
It’s still very much a rumor, but being reported by multiple sources. It garners attention, because the Magic need a big.
At first, the Magic sought to land Troy Murphy, an experienced back-up, to give Orlando center Dwight Howard a breather.
The Magic hoped to acquire Murphy off waivers after he’s traded, and then has his expiring contract bought out by the Golden State Warriors. The latest news indicates that the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat hold the advantage in signing Murphy.
Still needing a big, the Randolph trade now becomes the focus of speculation and rumor mongering surrounding the Magic.
The supposed deal involves sending Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass to the Grizzlies.
All this flies in the face of more rumors that the Magic have been attempting to sign Jason Richardson to a contract extension.
But the more you look at the deal, the more it might make sense. Whether or not it actually happens still remains speculation.
Losing Jason Richardson seems to be the biggest drawback of this deal.
Presently Richardson averages 16 points per game, and stretches the floor with his three-point ability. He’s the second leading scorer behind Dwight Howard.
Richardson hurts the Magic defensively, a product of playing for two teams— Golden State and Phoenix, that placed offense over defense.
Brandon Bass also makes this an uncomfortable deal at first glance. Bass first proved his worth against the Boston Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Bass averages 11 points per game for the Magic, along with six rebounds. His mid-range shooting ability gives the Orlando offense options when the three-point shooting goes cold.
But Bass struggles to convert under the basket, and recently has forfeited more minutes to Ryan Anderson at the four position.
As for Randolph, he brings twenty points per night, along with thirteen rebounds. He would give the Magic something they have always needed— a true power forward. Randolph plays big in the paint.
No J Rich, means Quentin Richardson would have to fill the vacuum. Stop screaming, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. J Rich hasn’t’ been all that consistent, and Q Rich has the ability to create his shot and hit the three. But we have to recognize that Q Rich struggled earlier this season offensively.
What you lose in scoring, you get back in defense. The Magic need perimeter defenders. With Chicago, Boston and the Heat all standing between the Magic and the NBA Finals, defense will be a premium come playoff time.
So what about the contract extension for Richardson? Well, that becomes very interesting when we consider the salaries of J Rich and Randolph.
According to Sham Sports, Randolph receives about $3.2 million more in salary than J Rich. Both have expiring contracts.
The Magic could be looking for a way to sign J Rich to a contract similar in salary to Randolph. If that could be accomplished, the Magic need not include Bass in the deal.
Again we’re in the realm of pure speculation. But if we know anything about Otis Smith, we know you can never say never.