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If one views the Bass-for-Davis trade as a lateral move for Orlando–and that’s a charitable assessment–and believes Richardson can rebound from an unimpressive 55-game stint with the Magic, then perhaps the team is better off than it was when its season ended in April. But in general, it’s status quo. Davis takes Bass’ place in the rotation, while Chris Duhon will fill in for the departed Arenas. The other slots don’t figure to change significantly. [...]
Smith has essentially handcuffed himself to this roster, both by dumping his best trade assets–Bass’ reasonable contract, backup center Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter’s semi-expiring contract–and by signing marginal players to long-term deals. Orlando doesn’t need a superstar swingman in order to return to the ranks of the East’s elite, but it lacks the trade chips to swing a deal for even a second- or third-tier option.
In short, improvement at that most dire area of need seems unlikely, both from within and from without.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Richardson, Redick, and Turkoglu can create for themselves when the offense bogs down. Maybe Howard has taken his game to the next level and can reliably score 26 points per game, thus diminishing the need for a number-two wing scoring option. Maybe someone apart from Howard will draw a foul every once in a while. Maybe an enticing trade offer will come along as the trading deadline draws nearer. But you’ll forgive my skepticism on those points.