Ilgauskas elbows Wall, Wall punches Ilgauskas [video]

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and John Wall got into a bit of a dust-up last night. Wall was pressuring Ilgauskas, who had the ball and Z swung his elbow through and popped Wall in the face. Wall, of course, took exception and punched Ilgauskas in his torso.

The best shot of Wall’s punch is at around the 1:15 mark, while the best view of Ilgauskas’ elbow is at around the 1:30 mark. No one likes to get hit in the face, but Wall needs to keep a cool head there. He really hurt his team by getting ejected.

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Nick Young hits an amazing 360-degree circus shot [video]

Even though he plays for the Wizards, Nick Young’s circus layup is one of the best highlights of the season.

Magic add Arenas, Turkoglu and J-Rich

Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas warms up prior to playing the Los Angeles Lakers at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

The Magic were busy on Saturday. Very busy.

The Orlando Magic capped a blockbuster day of wheeling and dealing by trading one franchise cornerstone for another, sending Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas on Saturday.

That trade followed news of a deal that sent Vince Carter to the Phoenix Suns in a six-player swap that returns Hedo Turkoglu to the Magic.

The Magic also get Jason Richardson and Earl Clark from the Suns in exchange for Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash considerations.

The Magic added Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark and lost Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and a 2011 first round pick.

Let’s take these deals one-by-one. First, Lewis for Arenas. The Magic had to be disappointed with the production they were getting from Lewis, who is averaging just 12.2 points per game this season, his lowest since his sophomore season. The truth is, Lewis’s production took a nosedive when Carter came to town. Now the Magic have Arenas instead, and Gilbert will have to embrace playing off-guard because Jameer Nelson is still slated to start at the point.

Not a bad deal for the Wizards who get a starter-quality ‘stretch four’ in Lewis, who should thrive spacing the floor for John Wall. Lewis’s contract is ridiculous, but it’s one year shorter than Arenas’s deal, which is just as ridiculous. The real upside is that it’s Wall’s team now and he doesn’t have to deal with Agent Zero stepping on his toes.

Now to the Suns’ deal. The Magic sent a starter-quality center (Gortat), Vince Carter’s expiring contract, Mickael Pietrus and a first round pick to Phoenix for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. J-Rich is the best player of this bunch, but his deal is expiring as well, so there’s little salary relief for either franchise.

The bottom line is that the Magic just traded away four of its rotation players, so it’s going to take some time to work Turkoglu, Richardson and Arenas into the fold. Unless they expect Richardson to play some small forward, one of the three guards (Richardson, Arenas or Nelson) is going to be short on minutes. And let’s not forget that the Magic want to work J.J. Redick in as well.

Arenas to the Magic?

Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas is seen as the Wizards play the Los Angeles Lakers at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Per Adrian Wojnarowski:

Orlando and Washington are engaged in serious discussions for a trade that would send Gilbert Arenas to the Magic, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Still unclear was whether Orlando would send the expiring contract of Vince Carter as part of the package or build a trade around longer-term contracts, including that of backup center Marcin Gortat, sources said. The Wizards also have been angling to get a first-round pick in return, sources said.

The Magic are currently sitting at 16-9 and in fourth place in the much improved Eastern Conference. They see the writing on the wall, which is why they are willing to roll the dice on Gilbert Arenas in order to improve their talent base and give the team a better shot in the playoffs.

Still, it’s funny how quickly things can change. Just a few short months ago, after Arenas was suspended for bringing a loaded gun to the Wizards’ locker room, the team couldn’t give him away. Now there trying to wrest a first round pick out of the Magic in return. Amazing.

For his part, Arenas is posting decent numbers (17-3-6) this season, but isn’t shooting the ball particularly well (39% from the field, 32% from 3PT). I don’t see how he’d work with Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter in the backcourt, so I suspect that Carter would be the one to go. That means that Arenas would have to play a lot of off guard because Nelson is a better point guard right now, in my opinion.

If the Wizards can get out from under Arenas’s contract and get a first round pick and/or a starter-quality center like Marcin Gortat, it will be a coup. John Wall is the future in Washington and Arenas is superfluous. I don’t think Arenas is a good move for the Magic, but they need to do something, and there’s no doubt now that Vince Carter experiment was a failure.

2010 NBA Preview: #26 to #30

This year, I’m going to preview the NBA season by starting with the lowest of the low and working my way up to my Finals picks. If a franchise is a legitimate championship contender, I’ll focus on what stars have to line up for a title run. If a team is a playoff also-ran, I’ll identify the weaknesses that have to be shored up via trade, free agency or draft over the next couple of seasons to make it a contender. If a team is likely to miss the playoffs, I’ll take a look at the salary cap, and provide a blueprint for how the team should proceed in the near future to get back in the postseason.

#30: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs could very well finish with the worst record just one year after finishing 2009-10 with the best regular season record. This, of course, is all LeBron James’ fault. He wasn’t supposed to leave, but he did. Not only did he drag his feet during free agency and make it impossible for the franchise to make any other significant moves, he also broke up with the city of Cleveland in the most public way possible. (Hey, at least the Boys & Girls Club made some money off of the deal.) The Cavs are trying to look forward, but it’s tough when you’re planning to start Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon on the wing and are depending on a 34-year-old Antawn Jamison to be your go-to scorer. Jamison and Mo Williams do bring some offense, and Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson will keep the front line competitive, but this team is seriously lacking in talent, specifically at shooting guard and small forward. Byron Scott is a good coach, but he’s going to have a tough time winning more than 25 games with this group. The good news, if there is any, is that the team is not in salary cap hell. They project to have about $10 million in cap space next summer and nearly $30 million in the summer of 2012. But there’s more bad news — it’s going to be tough to attract free agents to Cleveland, especially after Dan Gilbert’s open letter to LeBron.

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