Gortat could be trade bait.

Magic Now Have Two Big Assets

The Orlando Magic have not completely filled out their roster yet. Otis Smith has stated that he would like to acquire another PG and they are in talks with the likes of Matt Barnes, Von Wafer and Theo Ratliff. It seems like the Magic will slow down their pursuit of Ratliff now that they have matched the offer for Marcin Gortat and instead will focus on retaining one of their own – backup C Adonal Foyle.

There are very few quality Centers in the NBA right now. In fact, it’s hard to find a decent Center. This is where Gortat and his 5 year, $34 million deal come in to play for the Magic. Many teams would like to get their hands on Gortat. He’s just 25 years old. It’s unlikely that Marcin will spend much time with the Magic. NBA.com, through Gortat’s agent, is reporting that he’s very disappointed that Orlando matched his offer.

Gortat’s agent, Guy Zucker, said the center “was definitely very disappointed today.” He said Gortat was back in his native Poland, where he’d already been telling everyone he was headed to the Mavericks.

Gortat was hoping to play alongside Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki and, most of all, compete with Erick Dampier for the starting job. Dampier is going into the final year of his contract.

In Orlando, Gortat will likely see spotty playing time behind Howard.

“It was definitely about the opportunity to find out how good he can really be,” Zucker said. “We had requested that Orlando not match the offer. We stated the fact that he sincerely wanted the chance to carve his own path, be his own man, so to speak, which is not going to be realistically possible in Orlando.”
That makes it seems like Gortat will almost certainly be dealt sooner rather than later.

The other card that Otis Smith has is the trade exemption he acquired in the four way trade that sent Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto in a sign and trade. The TPE is said to be worth about $6.8 million. This exemption allows the Magic to make a trade without having to match salaries. This could lead to the Magic acquiring a very good player.

With the highly anticipated summer of 2010 just a year away, a lot of players could come on to the trade market by midseason. Many teams will know that they are not in the mix for a playoff berth and could decide to trade their superstar midway through the season rather than waiting a few months and lose them for nothing. A player that many expect to hit the market is Toronto Raptors PF Chris Bosh. Another interesting name is David Lee. He hasn’t signed yet and there are rumors that he will sign a one-year deal and stay in New York with the Knicks. He could potentially be had in a deal.

Not only could it net them an additional player to add to the roster, but maybe a replacement player. Last year, Jameer Nelson went down to a shoulder injury and Rafer Alston was acquired from Houston for Brian Cook and a first round pick. This helped the Magic stay in contention with the top teams in the Eastern Conference and eventually help lead the Magic to their second ever NBA Finals appearance and their first ever victory in an NBA Finals game. Without Alston, the Magic probably would not even defeated Boston. You never know who could get injured, the Magic may need to make another move and having Gortat and the TPE gives them a chance to make this move.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger.Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. Check out his ACC Football preview here.)

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