HtD is taking a look at Orlando’s players in terms of value and availability. Sunday, we focused on Orlando’s four highest paid players
– Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson.
Now we’ll take a look at the rest of Orlando’s squad – Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson.
Marcin Gortat, $6,322,320
“The Polish Machine” had a huge Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs and was rewarded with a 5-year, $34 million contract by the Dallas Mavericks. Since Gortat was a restricted Free Agent, the Magic matched the deal and brought him back. That’s a pretty steep price to pay for a backup Center. Especially when that center backs up the best Center in the league, meaning minutes are at a premium. Gortat was still one of the league’s best rebounder in terms of rebounding rate, still played good defense and was effective in limited minutes, but he took a step back overall numbers-wise. Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post believes fatigue from playing in EuroBasket last summer combined with Orlando’s Finals run in 2009 may have been an issue for Gortat – and he’s likely right -but no matter the reason, Gortat’s value has slipped. Whether it’s fair or not, Gortat is not looked at as highly as he was last season and the team that did sign him – Dallas – is looking to re-sign Brendan Haywood, the center they acquired just before the trade deadline. Since Gortat is a backup and is scheduled to make over $6.3 million, he is very available but like some of the Magic’s other available players, it’s going to be difficult to find a trading partner.
Mickael Pietrus, $5,300,000
Despite having some injury problems and fluctuating between being a sixth man and a starter, Mickael Pietrus has been a valuable player for the Magic. Pietrus has made his share of dagger 3-pointers, is a good defender and an excellent athlete. The question of Pietrus’ availability has a lot to do with Matt Barnes. Since Barnes, Orlando’s starting Small Forward, has opted out of his contract and may not return to the team, Pietrus is the only Small Forward left of the roster. If Barnes is back in the fold, Pietrus becomes more expendable. Pietrus is prone to boneheaded plays, but he has still been very valuable and should continue to be a key cog in Orlando’s chase for a championship. I think the Magic would obviously prefer to keep Pietrus and may even feel they’re getting their money’s worth with his contract but he is far from untouchable.
Brandon Bass, $4,000,000
Brandon Bass became a fan favorite this year by… not playing. Bass signed a 4-year, $16 million contract in hopes of being a tough guy inside to help Dwight Howard, but that didn’t happen. Bass had good numbers, but he wasn’t as good of a rebounder as he should be and had trouble learning the plays, prompting Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy to go to Ryan Anderson instead of Bass. You’d think a younger player, who has had some success and makes $4 million a year would be a very big asset, but since Bass played just 13.0 minutes a game in only 50 games, his value might be at an all-time low. Since he fell out of the rotation, he’s probably Orlando’s most available player but it’s going to be hard to get good value in return for a player who saw his minutes and numbers drop during the 2009-10 season.
Ryan Anderson, $1,409,040
After a hot start, Ryan Anderson fell off during the second half of the season but he surprised many with his all-around game. At first glance, Anderson looks like a 3-point specialist, but he has good overall game. Plus, he just turned 22 in May, making him a valuable player to the Magic. His youth and rookie salary also makes him an attractive player to potential trade partners. Combine that reasoning with Anderson’s ability to be a successful stretch four and you see why he is also a very valuable player to the Magic, but Anderson is still a backup and Rashard Lewis is locked up for three more years, so I’d label him as available.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).