Updated Dec. 21, 2010
Here's one conclusion to draw from the blockbuster trade that reshaped three franchises last week: the Magic obviously understand boxing.
After all, if you're looking to do better than a "Decision," you've got to record a knockout.
And that it did. Wow. One minute the Eastern Conference contender is staggering. One haymaker later and it's fighting for a title.
All three teams came away believing they improved. Of course, clubs that make trades always think that way.
|Orlando hopes Hedo Turkoglu can conjure his old magic as it looks to better spread the court on offense. (Getty Images)|
There were no losers here, except maybe if you're a frontrunner who had counted the Magic out or a backdooring playoff hopeful who wasn't expecting the Wizards or Suns to be part of the competition.
No doubt, each participant has reason to rejoice over this one:
Orlando: The Magic not only corralled one of the top point guards in the league in Gilbert Arenas, but also kept him from somehow landing with a certain rival that's a point guard away from immortality (Miami).
That said, the key to the shakeup could be this: The Magic were a better team when Hedo Turkoglu was playing brilliantly in fourth quarters most nights than when Vince Carter was struggling for all four quarters. Reversing that mistake is brilliant.
Washington: Few teams are even willing to pair co-stars in the backcourt. Why? Well, look at where it's gotten the Wizards and Warriors.
Splitting from Arenas will allow John Wall to blossom. And moving Rashard Lewis, a classic great player on a bad team, into a frontcourt position of need makes Washington a better team.
Phoenix: The Suns didn't get Amar'e Stoudemire back, but least they erased their second biggest tragedy of the offseason -- acquiring Turkoglu. It didn't take long for Phoenix to realize it got the Toronto version, not Orlando's.
Heading west for the first time in his career has to be a godsend for Carter. Teaming with Steve Nash makes him a Comeback Player of the Year candidate -- coming back from one of the worst six-week stretches of his career. The goal now is getting the Suns to the playoffs, which he's fully capable of doing even after taking a month off to get used to the heat and recover from knee surgery.
As for the other 27 teams ... well, each had a reaction even if it was trying to conceal it. Suffice it to say, Dec. 18 -- like July 8 -- was not a happy day in most NBA cities.
Forget the records. The Magic, Suns and Wizards all get a bit of a boost in this week's CBSSports.com NBA Power Rankings.