Fact or Fiction: Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Brandon Bass Will Remain With the Orlando Magic Until the End of the Season | Magic Basketball

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Sep 08

Fact or Fiction: Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Brandon Bass Will Remain With the Orlando Magic Until the End of the Season

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Brandon Bass will all finish this season in a Magic uniform.

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Fact
It can be argued, even if it’s — admittedly — not the strongest argument, that the Orlando Magic are better off keeping the roster as is. Remember, the Magic were first in efficiency differential (+9.25) during the regular season last year and they bring back the same group of guys, sans Matt Barnes after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. The only new faces that will be in the rotation, for the time being, are Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon. Plus, given that Richardson will likely be an upgrade from Barnes, especially on offense, and Duhon is projected to have a good season as Jameer Nelson‘s back-up, it’s safe to say that Orlando shouldn’t miss a beat. Why make a trade just for the sake of making a trade?

In the grand scheme of things, the Magic are still one of the best teams in the NBA as currently constructed. It might be in the best interest of general manager Otis Smith to leave the roster alone and let the players try again.

It’s called a second chance.

Vince Carter and Brandon Bass will get the benefit of playing in head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s system for another season. In Carter’s case, the hope is that he can develop more synergy with Dwight Howard in pick and rolls but it’s a wait-and-see approach. As for Marcin Gortat, there is the expectation is that he’ll bounce back from a sub-par year and play with more energy, as well as cut down on the turnovers — two minor issues that plagued him in 2010.

And at the end of the day, Howard must take his game to the next level if Orlando wants to win a title with their current outfit of players.

Even if the Magic were to acquire someone by trading Gortat and/or Carter and/or Bass, Howard has to open Pandora’s box on offense or else it’s a moot point.

The pressure isn’t on Gortat, Carter, or Bass to produce, which means that they may stick around even if they fail to contribute by their standards.

Fiction
On the other hand, it’s quite possible that Gortat, Carter, or Bass are traded by the deadline. But it all, ultimately, depends on how Orlando is faring during the regular season. If it’s clear that the Magic are no match for the Miami Heat and the reloaded Celtics or a core player suffers an injury, then Smith may be forced to make a move to keep pace with the competitors.

Likewise, speculation continues to marinate concerning the futures of Gortat, Carter, and Bass because each of them have value. Gortat and Bass are affordable, young players in the prime of their careers, while Carter is an expiring contract ($4 million guaranteed in 2012) that could allow a team to shed salary if they wish to do so.

Also, there have been rumors that have been linked to Gortat, Carter, or Bass since the off-season began for Orlando. A few months ago, there was a report that the Magic would not hesitate to move Gortat in a deal if it meant acquiring a superstar. There were also some rumblings that Bass would like more playing time and if he didn’t get it, he would liked to be traded. Lastly, Carter had been linked in scenarios involving trades for Gilbert Arenas and Chris Paul.

There’s no question that Gortat, Carter, and Bass have tenuous futures with Orlando, in some ways, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be around much longer. Especially Bass, who was rumored to be involved in a deal for D.J. Augustin before talks were scrapped after the Charlotte Bobcats also asked for J.J. Redick. It’s no secret that Bass’ future with the Magic definitely isn’t set in stone out of the trio. Is it likely that Bass will be traded? Who knows. It’s possible.

However, the same could be said about Gortat or Carter. It’s hard to predict something like this, because it’s speculative. There’s too many variables involved, too.

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This is a scenario that could go either way, to be honest.

That being said, an educated guess is that the odds are low that Gortat, Carter, and Bass will be with Orlando until the end of the season. There have been trade chatter attached to each player, at various points in time, and Smith has a track record of making trades in mid-season.

Smith doesn’t make blockbuster trades, but he makes some moves nevertheless (most notably, the Rafer Alston acquisition in 2009) and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he traded Gortat, Carter, or Bass at some point.

Verdict: Fiction

5 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Tim

Pretty sure the Magic would get more than an Alston-type for either Gortat, Carter, or Bass. I was just giving an example of the type of mid-season trades that Otis has made in the past few years.

@C.J.

Gortat has a limited repertoire offensively. I mean, Van Gundy could try to work the ball through Gortat in the low post but I don't anticipate the results being the same as if he were Howard or something. Gortat is more of a pick and roll player.

@mentalmagic

Yeah, we'll see.

@3.3

Like I said, I think it's likely that Bass gets traded out of the trio but you never know with Otis. You make some valid points, however.

3.3
3.3

Carter: not unless the Magic find themselves out of contention. They're not going to get anyone better in a trade. (Except maybe Chris Paul, and the Hornets aren't doing that, let alone doing it in a deal with Orlando.)

Gortat: not unless the Magic get another double-double candidate/defensive force who can play center. That's 12-15 minutes of the game without Dwight... someone needs to close up the middle. And if they're trading for a guy like that, why aren't they just keeping Gortat?

Bass: this one's a possibility. Trading Gortat or Carter opens up a hole in the rotation... trading Bass doesn't, because Anderson fills it.

I hate to say it, but I think even Anderson is a more likely trade candidate than Carter or Gortat. I like to believe the Magic aren't stupid, and I like to believe they wouldn't make that deal unless they're desperate. But if they are desperate... if someone gets hurt, and they need to fill in a hole in the rotation... well, Anderson has more trade value than Bass for a lot of teams.

mentalmagic
mentalmagic

This is a real tough one but most likely one of them will be traded before the deadline. Gortat and Bass deserve a chance to start somewhere and Carter is master of his own destiny with how well he plays. Agreed, Fiction.

C.J.
C.J.

You know, there isn't that big of an issue with Gortat. I just don't think plays get called for him enough. I see a lot of games where he stands in the same spot as Howard, gets a nice position for the play, but either never gets the ball or gives it right back.

If the Magic play through him on the second string, I think they'd see some better results. Gortat could get 20 minutes a game but never get the ball, and his stats suffer because of it. But get him the ball and then we can make a better verdict.

Tim
Tim

I have to say I would hope that between Carter, Gortat, and Bass we could get a better piece than Rafer Alston.