In a move that seemed to come out of nowhere, the Phoenix Suns on Saturday traded Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 1st round draft pick and about $3 million, according to a Suns release.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard, as well as a number of other sources, reported midday Saturday that the deal was close, and confirmed later that it would happen before the Suns’ 2:49 p.m. MST release made it official.
“This transaction helps us now and in the future,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said in the release. “While it is difficult to see players like Jason, Hedo and Earl depart, we are excited to welcome Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mikael Pietrus. Marcin addresses our need for more size, rebounding and defensive presence. Vince and Mikael will be dynamic in our offense and improve our perimeter defense. Gaining a first-round pick in this year’s draft is an added bonus.”
The deal sends Turkoglu back to the team where he succeeded most, brings another big man to Phoenix and leaves the Suns without their top scorer.
Richardson is currently averaging 19.3 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Suns and will now join his fourth NBA team.
Turkoglu has been widely criticized in Phoenix for his lack of production after the Suns acquired the 6-10 small forward in the offseason to play power forward on an undersized team. Off the bench, Turkoglu has averaged 9.5 points and four rebounds per game.
Clark has struggled in Phoenix as well since the Suns drafted him 14th overall in 2009. The Louisville product was averaging about eight minutes per night, but has only played in seven games this season for the 12-13 Suns.
The Suns replace Richardson with the oft-injured Carter, who is averaging 15.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season. They also get Gortat, a fourth-year center who will provide experience behind Robin Lopez, and replace Turkoglu’s spot on the bench with Pietrus, who is averaging 6.7 points per game this season.
Check back soon for further details and in depth analysis.