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Power Rankings: Season's hottest deal cycloning throughout NBA

by | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
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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)  
Orlando hopes Hedo Turkoglu can conjure his old magic as it looks to better spread the court on offense. (Getty Images)  
But in this case, they might be right. The three-direction explosion heard from Hoover's old home to Hoover Dam has to go down as one of the intriguing swaps in NBA history.

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.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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