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Perhaps noticing that they needed a little more firepower to compete with the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls in the East, the Orlando Magic went out and made a big splash in the trade market by acquiring Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas in separate deals during the weekend. The Magic first dealt Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus to the Phoenix Suns for J-Rich, Hedo and Earl Clark before moving Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Arenas.
With so many key players involved in Saturday's deals, the fantasy implications are far reaching. Let's take a look at the winners and losers after the weekend's big trade movement:
Hedo Turkoglu, SF: Turk is a winner by default, as he really has nowhere to go but up from the 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.6 3-pointers he was averaging in Phoenix. I'm not rushing out to acquire Turkoglu or anything, but it should be noted that he put up some spectacular seasons in Orlando under Stan Van Gundy in the past. Of course, things are a lot more crowded now than they were the last time Turk was in a Magic uniform. There is a ton of offensive firepower in this new lineup, and we can't realistically expect Hedo to be anything more than the fourth offensive option when he's on the court. That said, I'm moving him back into the tail end of the top 130, as he should benefit from the change of scenery.
Brandon Bass, PF: The "Animal" has long been a favorite of mine thanks to his tenacity in the paint, but he's never been able to carve out enough minutes to be considered much of a fantasy option. After averaging 14.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in 30.2 minutes per game in his past four contests, Bass should continue to earn extended minutes now that the Magic suddenly have a lack of depth in their frontcourt. It is anticipated that Bass will be the starter at power forward, but don't be surprised if his minutes are limited to 27-31 per game, as Stan Van Gundy will likely roll with a smaller lineup from time to time. Bass makes for a fine pickup candidate as a role player, but realize that he doesn't block many shots and will be the last offensive option in the revamped Magic offense.
Jason Richardson, SG: I feel for J-Rich owners, I really do. Richardson was cruising in Phoenix alongside Steve Nash, with 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.5 3-pointers per game on the season, but he'll have a hard time duplicating those numbers in the new Magic lineup. J-Rich should start and earn 33-35 minutes per game, but touches will become an issue with so many players needing the rock. Since Richardson is such an accomplished scorer, he shouldn't have a problem scoring 16-17 points per game with around 1.8 3-pointers. Those are still nice numbers, but they're not close to what Richardson owners had become accustomed to this season.
Gilbert Arenas, SG/PG: With 18.8 points, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 3-pointers per game in 14 starts, Gilbert was putting up some monstrous numbers in Washington with John Wall sidelined. His stats as a sixth man (the role he will play for the Magic), however, portray a more accurate guide of what we might see out of Arenas in Orlando: 14.3 points, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.6 3-pointers. Those numbers seem like a realistic expectation given the Magic roster, although he drops a bit in the rankings because he'll no longer have the John Wall injury to help keep his value artificially high.
Jameer Nelson, PG: Though Nelson's role as the starting point guard is still secure, there is no denying that the additions of Arenas, Turkoglu and Richardson will cut into his fantasy value. Some may think that Nelson's assist totals will go up with more scorers at his disposal, but both Gilbert and Hedo are capable ball distributors who will steal some of Nelson's assists away. On the scoring front, the Magic no longer need him to take 12.1 shots per game. After averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 assists through his first 21 games on the season, Nelson's owners should expect a modest decrease to around 13 points and 5-6 assists per game.
Marcin Gortat, C: Stuck in the unfortunate position of backing up the league's most durable center, Gortat will finally get a chance to get out from Dwight Howard's shadow in Phoenix. Fantasy owners have been patiently waiting to see what the 26-year-old center from Poland could do without Howard in his way. He's always put up fantastic per-48-minute numbers in rebounds and blocks, and he'll get an opportunity to earn far more minutes than he's ever earned in the past. He'll likely split time with Robin Lopez to start, but should be able to carve out 25-30 minutes per game as the Suns begin their rebuilding efforts. Do not be surprised if he has a breakout performance in Phoenix.
Vince Carter, SG: It's hard to say how the Suns will proceed from here. The trade suggests that they are looking to rebuild, but they still have a stockpile of aging players at their wing positions. Carter should benefit from playing alongside Steve Nash, but I'm hesitant to move him too far up in the ranks given the fact that the Suns may attempt a youth movement of sorts as we get deeper into the season.
Goran Dragic, PG: If the Suns are truly moving toward a youth movement, Dragic would be the main beneficiary. As Nash's understudy, I could easily see the Suns deferring more to Dragic as the season progresses. They may even let the two play in the same backcourt more often. Dragic has put up some great numbers whenever Nash has missed time, but doesn't quite have standalone value just yet. Perhaps this deal could give Dragic the playing time he needs to be a viable option regardless of Nash's injury status.
Steve Nash, PG: As mentioned, do not be surprised if Nash takes a 2-3 minute per game hit as a result of the impending youth movement. He'll still be valuable, but fewer minutes almost always equals less production, so we'll have to drop him a few spots in the ranks going forward.
Robin Lopez, C: Listing Lopez as a loser in this deal may not be completely fair because he's actually playing a lot better since returning from a knee injury, but the addition of Gortat means more competition at the 5 spot and I fear that the Suns may have a higher opinion of Gortat as their future center. Lopez still warrants a look in deeper fantasy formats, but dreams of this being his breakout season are all but shattered after the trade.
Rashard Lewis, PF/SF: In desperate need of a change of scenery, Lewis will immediately step into the Wizards starting lineup, where he'll find more opportunities to produce in a lineup that is void of proven offensive firepower. In Orlando, Rashard had become somewhat of an afterthought on the offensive end, averaging just 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers while taking just 10.8 shots per game. He'll get plenty more shot opportunities in Washington, and while I don't expect him to ever go back to the days when he was a 20-point-per-game scorer, he could certainly put up 16-17 points with 2.3-2.5 3-pointers for the Wiz.
Kirk Hinrich, SG/PG: Trading Arenas is undoubtedly a vote of confidence for rookie John Wall, but Wall was going to produce with or without Gilbert around (provided he's healthy), so I don't see his value changing much with this move. Hinrich, on the other hand, should see a nice bump in value after the trade, especially when considering Wall's health issues early this season. He's averaging 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.4 steals in his past five games, and he's been stellar with Wall on the shelf. Hinrich should see more consistent minutes going forward, as he'll split time with Nick Young at shooting guard when Wall is active.
Nick Young, SG: Earning extra playing time with Wall sidelined, Young has caught fire in recent action, averaging 22.5 points, 1.3 steals and 1.5 3-pointers in his past four games. He's shown this type of ability in the past, but a combination of streaky shooting and inconsistent playing time has prevented him from becoming a reliable fantasy option. The Arenas trade won't be able to fix Young's streakiness, but it should at least stabilize his minutes. That said, there is quite a bit of upside here, so Young makes for a nice pickup candidate for anyone in need of points, steals, free throw percentage and 3-pointers.
Andray Blatche, PF/C: I list Blatche as a loser in this deal, but any decrease in value should be fairly minimal. Lewis will likely start at small forward with Blatche at power forward, but Lewis' touches will likely come at the expense of Blatche, who has been the Wizards' top scoring option in the frontcourt. His scoring (17.2 ppg) and shot attempts (15.5 per game) should decrease, though we should expect his shooting percentage (.437) from the floor to improve, as he'll be slightly more selective with his shot.
Al Thornton, SF/Josh Howard, SG/SF: We weren't expecting much more than fleeting value from Thornton or Howard, and the addition of Lewis makes both players expendable, even in deeper fantasy formats.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bmckitish.