"I like our team the way it is right now. Guys we have understand what they're doing and compete night in and night out and give us a chance to win," Smith explained.
Not disturbing chemistry is certainly understandable, but there is a problem with letting a handful of expiring contracts go with nothing in return. Carlos Arroyo, Pat Garrity and Keyon Dooling all have contracts that will expire at the end of this season, and they will account for nearly $12 million off the books; there are likely a lot of teams that would be interested in gaining that cap relief, meaning that there are likely some potential trade partners.
Orlando isn't expected to retain more than one of those players (possibly Dooling), so it makes sense to try to get something in return. With that in mind, here is the first of some potential trades that will take advantage of these expiring contracts.
Orlando sends guards Keyon Dooling and Carlos Arroyo, forwards Pat Garrity and Tony Battie, and two future first round picks to New Jersey for Jason Kidd.
Keyon Dooling is a solid contributor for the Magic. He's athletic, is one of the team's
better defenders, and has made a difference in several games this year. He has a nice
contract at nearly $3.6 million, and averages better than 8 ppg. in just 18 minutes, hits
his free throws (86.3%), and can play an up tempo game.
Carlos Arroyo has played better this year than last, but he's not a starting caliber point guard in the NBA. Arroyo's shooting is inconsistent, his defense is nonexistent, and he makes crunch time mistakes all too often. Arroyo can play well in spots, but he can't be counted upon over the long term. Arroyo earns a salary of $4 million.
Pat Garrity is at the twilight of his career and is nothing more than a salary dump at this point. Pat can shoot from the outside and shoot well from the free throw line, but he's a complete defensive liability. Garrity earns better than $3.8 million.
Tony Battie underwent rotator cuff surgery prior to the beginning of the season and will likely miss the entire year. When healthy, Battie is a solid big body who can defend in the post, but nothing more than a depth player at this point in his career. Battie's salary is $5.2 million.
Jason Kidd is the closest thing to Magic Johnson since Magic retired. Kidd distributes the ball better than anyone in the league, and he plays solid defense and rebounds. Kidd instantly makes any team better, and the former Olympian will go down as one of the very best point guards in NBA history. That said, Kidd is 34 years old and it's a wonder how much longer he can be effective. Kidd earns just over $19.7 million.
Jason Kidd would obviously upgrade a point guard position that has been struggling
mightily, and his ability to put the ball in the hands of the right players would take
Orlando from a good team to a legitimate Eastern Conference title contender.
They don't receive a lot of talent in return for Kidd, but the Nets can get rid of the
weekly "where's Kidd going" distraction and get his large $20 million/yr. contract off the
books so they can begin rebuilding.
This deal makes them better right away, but Kidd is 34 and his best days are behind him.
They Magic would appear to be doing what Miami did a few years ago, taking one or two
shots at a title and sacrificing a good portion of their future.
The Nets front office believes that they can receive more than just expiring contracts
from other teams.
Not very likely. The Magic have as much, if not more of a need for a solid point guard
than anyone else in the NBA, and Kidd is the best available. The only way this deal would
likely go down is if Hedo Turkoglu is involved, which is doubtful.