As I'm sitting here watching the worst display of basketball in the biggest game of the year by my Magic, I think to myself how different this team is likely to look next year, no matter what the current cap situation is. As great as Rashard Lewis has made Orlando during the regular season, he's shown in Orlando's last two playoff series losses to be a liability late in the playoffs. Against physical play, Lewis will be outrebounded by his counter-part by about 8 or 9 boards, outscored by 6 or 7, or completely out-hustled and out-toughed. This is me venting and assuming that Otis Smith will make a move. Here are the ones I've thought up that I could realistically see happening. I'll throw in one more at the end which I highly doubt, but it's the pipe dream.
Situation 1: Sign and Trade with Toronto for Chris Bosh - I've been on the Bosh to Orlando band-wagon for about 2 years now and I'm not giving up. Toronto knows Bosh isn't re-signing. Toronto knows that they aren't getting anyone of any relevance this off-season. Toronto knows if they sit back and let the bricks fall, they'll end up with Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani and maybe DeMar DeRozan along with some other crap. Everyone on this board raves about how great Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu were together. Maybe Toronto feels like reviving some of that magic and creating a team that will throw up 100 3's every game. Orlando gave Toronto Turkoglu in a pointless sign and trade. Maybe Toronto feels like they can revive the magic that was there. Toronto does lose talent and increases pay roll, but it makes them a lot more competitive than without Rashard. For Orlando, they get rid of Lewis who creates mismatches but who's lack of physicality has killed them against the NBA Elite's in the playoffs. Bosh gives Orlando the league's best power forward along with the league's best C. He has a great shot so the spacing is still there, will give them a guy who can create their own shot. Most importantly, Bosh will actually body someone up and pull down a few rebounds, something Lewis has refused to do. I think Lewis' salary alone matches up, but if I'm Orlando, I see if the Raptors are dumb enough to take Ryan Anderson off our hands as well.
Situation 2: Sign and Trade with Heat for Dwyane Wade - I know this sounds crazy, but really, I'm praying for this one over any other. Although Carter can take over a game, he's too old to do it more than a couple times a year and he's not a 1 vs 5 win a game type player like he once was. In today's NBA, there are two players who can go 1 vs 5 and win a game. LeBron James (who we'll get to), and Dwyane Wade are those two guys. In this deal, Orlando sends Vince Carter Miami's way for the ability to sign Flash. In this deal, Miami gets a very productive player still, even at his age, and still has available cap room in order to add that second piece whether that be a Bosh or Stoudemire or whatever. Most importantly, if Miami really doesn't think they can bring Wade back, Carter's contract is up in 2011. Another name whose contract is up in 2011 would be one, Carmelo Anthony, who is now reported to be in talks with Denver about an extension, but one can dream. Carter can give the Heat one more productive year and paired up with another star, could probably keep Miami a top 5 or 6 team in the East. After that, go after Melo and use the current star as a bargaining chip.
Situation 3: Use that 8 million Dollar cap exception for something - I really don't know what it would be, probably a bench player, but it'd be something. I don't see Orlando just keeping that forever. 8 Mill is a lot of cash, expect it to be used somewhere along the line.
Situation 4: The Pipe Dream: Sign and Trade with Cleveland for Lebron James - God, this will never ever happen, but I can pray. If Cleveland looks as if they aren't going to get the Prince back, maybe they call up Orlando and take on the contract of either Lewis or Carter. If this situation were to play out, my bet would be on Carter considering the dude will sell some jerseys along with keep the team competitive. He won't have even close to the impact Lebron did (although Carter was Lebron before Lebron), but he'll do something. Matt Barnes' contract is up this year, so this move either puts J.J. Redick or Mickael Pietrus in the starting line-up. I'd prefer Redick as the dude is becoming one heck of a defender (yes, it's true). Also, Cleveland then puts themselves in position for the Carmelo Anthony 2011 sweepstakes and if there's a guy (not named Durant) that could fill Lebron's shoes at the SF position, it's Carmelo Anthony.
Situation 5: Ain't ever gonna happen, but a man can dream - A combination of my first 3 situations. I think Sit. 3 is a given, but if Orlando somehow pulls off the other two and has a line-up of
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: Mickael Pietrus
PF: Chris Bosh
C: Dwight Howard
BN: Flip Murray (total guess on the trade exception)
BN: J.J. Redick
BN: Brandon Bass
BN: Marcin Gortat
I love my Magic and really truly believe that something big will happen this off-season and I can almost bet my life, it will involve Rashard Lewis playing in another team's uniform next year some way, some how. This series against Boston killed me because they just looked like they gave up and stopped caring. Only guys I saw competing were Howard, Bass, and Pietrus. I'll give Carter his due as he got 15 in limited action, but he was a non-factor although his defense was pretty solid. I'm keeping my hopes up that Orlando pulls off a miracle. I don't have internet access for all of July so I'm hoping by the time I come back, Dwight is paired with another top 10 guy.
Be Bold, be Blue, Be Magic.