11:10 PM EST, January 18, 2013
The NBA's Hot Stove League is heating up, but the trade winds mostly leave players cold. With the Feb. 21 deadline looming, it is an uncomfortable time of year.
J.J. Redick's name has been bandied about. You can't blame J.J. for wondering if he might need to buy a snow shovel and stock up on anti-freeze.
History shows the Magic have been active before a deadline. Here are their most notable transactions:
The Most Bizarre: The Magic retired the trophy for weirdness with this one. The club acquired Doug (and his wife, Jackie) Christie from Sacramento for Cuttino Mobley and Michael Bradley on Jan. 10, 2005. The Magic witnessed the over-the-top devotion between the Christies, but that was tame compared to what happened next.
After being benched, Christie curiously left the team and later underwent ankle surgery.
In a nutty news conference, Christie criticized then-GM John Weisbrod for not supporting his absence. His agent, Bradley Marshall, held up a bag of bone chips collected from Christie's surgery as grotesque proof that Christie was indeed injured, not insolent.
The Worst Deal By A Landslide: On Dec. 9, 2010, the Magic acquired wacky gun-toting Gilbert Arenas for Rashard Lewis — and are still paying for it. They amnestied Arenas in 2011 with, ouch, $62 million left on his contact.
Then-GM Otis Smith had a father-son relationship with Arenas, dating to their days at Golden State, where Otis first advised Gilbert not to buy sharks for his fish tank. Smith banked on Arenas recapturing his go-to reputation and help Dwight Howard contend.
Arenas showed only flashes of his free-lancing style, but his zany Agent Zero alter ego did not disappoint. He was served with child-support papers while heading to the dressing room at halftime of a game.
The Great Escape — Franchise moves Stevie Franchise: Dumping Steve Francis on bumbling Isiah Thomas and New York on Feb. 22, 2006, marked the highlight of Smith's tenure and remains the club's greatest heist.
The trade allowed the Magic to get out from under the $50 million they still owed Francis. He had been suspended by the team for not re-entering a game, the breaking point in his pattern of boorish behavior.
A Hollywood script writer couldn't have dreamt this scenario: They Magic not only received Trevor Ariza for Francis but also the expiring contract of one-time Orlando darling Penny Hardaway.
The Skip To My Lou Move: Desperate for a starting point guard after Jameer Nelson's shoulder injury, the Magic acquired Rafer Alston in a three-way trade with Houston on Feb. 19. 2009.
Alston was best known as a streetball legend in New York, nicknamed "Skip To My Lou" for his ankle-breaking moves.
The trade was savvy and risky, considering Alston's temperamental reputation. But Alston had played for Stan Van Gundy in Miami, and he helped the Magic reach the 2009 NBA Finals.
The Head Scratcher: Talk about chasing your tail. On the very day of the Arenas-Lewis deal, the underachieving Magic returned Hedo Turkoglu to Orlando in a trade with Phoenix after shipping him to Toronto --- 15 months earlier. Smith had deemed Turk too old and too expensive to re-sign.
Along with Turk, they acquired Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, sending Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat to the Suns.
The Magic had signed Turkoglu to a five-year $53-million contract and then traded him to the Raptors. The guy who Smith said was too old and too expensive is the oldest and highest-paid player on Orlando's roster (not counting Arenas).
Signing Nik quick
Rating the Magic's most desirable trade assets, I'd say Nik Vucevic has leaped to No. 1, clearly, over Redick.
The second-year center might be the league's best value at $1.7 million, and opposing coaches and players are raving about him.
For Orlando, he's untouchable — or should be, especially in a rebuild.
The Magic have lost two franchise centers, Shaq and Dwight. It took them eight years to replace Shaq, landing Dwight in 2004. Nik isn't in their superstar strata, but he'll be an anchor for a decade in a league void of quality bigs.
He'll still need to be surrounded by a free-agent star (or two) for the club to return to contention.
The Magic can extend Vucevic's contract after next season, his third in the league. It should be a slam-dunk, considering Nelson, Al Harrington and Big Baby Davis (if they are still here) come off the books after the 2014-15 season.
Vucevic easily would be a $10-million-a-year player on the open market.
A Kobe hoax?
Lakers star Kobe Bryant says he beat former Magic SG Tracy McGrady three straight games of one-on-one while the two were on a promotional tour in Germany years ago.
Apparently, Kobe told Manti Te'o the story and not ESPN because T-Mac said it's all a lie. McGrady says he and Kobe were never in Germany together.
"I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn't even close. Ask him, he'll tell you," Bryant said. "When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promotional stuff for that other sneaker company, and we played basketball every day.
"We were in the gym all the time. We played three games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2. After the third game he said he had back spasms and couldn't play anymore."
Upon hearing the story, T-Mac tweeted, "That's far from the truth. No one in the NBA is playing 1 on 1. Me and KB never went to Germany together either."
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel