The Orlando Magic have acquired Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first round draft selection and cash considerations, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced today.
“We’re very excited to welcome these three players to our family,” said Smith. “Jason (Richardson) is a tremendous athlete who runs the floor, can shoot the ball and loves to compete. We’re obviously familiar with Hedo (Turkoglu). He is a great shooter and is a player that has flourished in our system. We liked Earl (Clark) in the draft a few years ago, and he will help fortify our frontcourt. Vince (Carter), Marcin (Gortat) and Mickael (Pietrus) did a lot for our organization and we wish them great success in the future.”
Richardson (6’6”, 225, 1/20/81) has played and started in 25 games this season with Phoenix, averaging a team-high 19.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 1.4 apg. and a team-high 1.08 stlpg. in 31.8 minpg., while shooting .470 (183-389) from the floor and .419 (62-148) from three-point range. He currently ranks 24th in the NBA in scoring and 27th in three-point field goal percentage.
Originally selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft by Golden State, Richardson has appeared in 696 career NBA regular season games with Golden State, Charlotte and Phoenix, averaging 18.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 2.8 apg. and 1.18 stlpg. in 35.0 minpg. He has shot .372 (1,291-3,472) from three-point range during his career. Richardson has also played in 27 career playoff outings, averaging 19.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg., 1.4 apg. and 1.15 stlpg. in 35.6 minpg., while shooting .491 (193-393) from the floor and .421 (77-183) from three-point range. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2001-02, claimed the NBA Slam Dunk championship in 2002 and 2003, while also being named MVP of the Rookie Challenge in 2002.
Turkoglu (6’10”, 220, 3/19/79) has played in 25 games (16 starts) this season with Phoenix, averaging 9.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in 25.2 minpg. while shooting .423 (41-97) from three-point range. He currently ranks 24th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage.
Originally selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft by Sacramento, Turkoglu has appeared in 777 career NBA regular season games with Sacramento, San Antonio, Orlando, Toronto and Phoenix, averaging 12.1 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 2.9 apg. in 28.1 minpg., while shooting .385 (986-2,562) from three-point range. He has also played in 74 career playoff outings, averaging 11.8 ppg., 4.6 rpg. and 3.2 apg. in 32.1 minpg. Turkoglu was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2000-01 and earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2007-08.
Turkoglu played in 377 games during five seasons with Orlando from 2004-09, averaging 15.8 ppg., 4.6 rpg. and 3.7 apg. in 33.1 minpg. He helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 2009. Turkoglu was signed as a free agent by Orlando on July 14, 2004.
Clark (6’10”, 225, 1/17/88) has played in nine games with this season with Phoenix, averaging 3.2 ppg. and 1.9 rpg. in 8.0 minpg. Originally selected in the first round (14th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft by Phoenix, Clark appeared in 51 games with the Suns during his rookie campaign (2009-10), averaging 2.7 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 7.5 minpg. He also played in three playoff contests, averaging 1.3 ppg. in 4.3 minpg.
“This transaction helps us now and in the future,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “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 6-6, 220-pound Carter is a 12-year NBA veteran who owns eight NBA All-Star appearances, including seven selections as a starter. Carter was the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year, earned All-NBA honors in 2000-01 (Second Team) and 2001-02 (Third Team), and won an Olympic Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
The 33-year-old Carter, who currently ranks eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list among active players, is 169 points shy of 20,000 for his career. Carter averaged 20 or more points in 10-straight seasons from 1999-2000 to 2008-09, and owns career averages of 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 874 games (866 starts) with Toronto (1998-04), New Jersey (2004-09) and Orlando (2009-10). The graduate of the University of North Carolina has been Orlando’s second-leading scorer in each of the last two seasons (Dwight Howard), including a 15.1-point scoring average through 22 games in 2010-11.
Carter has appeared in 56 playoff games in six career appearances, and owns postseason averages of 23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Originally the fifth overall selection of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Carter’s draft rights were traded to the Toronto Raptors, with whom he spent the first six-plus seasons of his decorated career, becoming the Raptors’ all-time leading scorer (9,420). On Dec. 17, 2004, Carter was traded to New Jersey where he helped to lead the Nets to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons (2005, 2006, 2007). Carter became a member of the Magic on June 25, 2009, when he was acquired along with Ryan Anderson in exchange for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee.
Gortat is a 6-11, 240-pound center who will bring defense, rebounding and toughness to the Suns. He was originally selected by Phoenix with the 57th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft before dealing him to the Magic for cash considerations on June 28, 2005.
Through 25 games in 2010-11, the Polish-born Gortat is averaging a career-high 4.0 points and a career-high 4.7 rebounds in only 15.9 minutes. In fact, despite playing fewer than 16 minutes per game, Gortat’s 4.7-rebound average would be tied for third-most on the Suns. “The Polish Hammer” is averaging 14.3 rebounds per 48 minutes (19th-NBA), and his 54.3-percent field goal accuracy would rank 13th in the league overall if he had enough makes to qualify (min. 92 field goals).
A three-year NBA veteran, Gortat owns career averages of 3.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 13.3 minutes in 175 games (five starts), all with Orlando. The 26-year-old has played every game of his career behind two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard (2008-09, 2009-10). Following the 2008-09 season, Gortat signed a free agent offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks, but the Magic matched the offer in order to retain him.
Gortat appeared in all 24 playoff games in the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, averaging 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.3 minutes.
Pietrus is versatile, 6-6, 215-pound swingman who has developed into a reliable outside shooter. A seven-year NBA veteran with Golden State (2003-08) and Orlando (2008-10), Pietrus owns career averages of 8.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 458 games (146 starts), and is a 35.9-percent three-point shooter, including 37.3 percent from beyond the arc over the last two-plus seasons with the Magic (230-of-616). The 28-year-old Pietrus is shooting a career-high 39.1-percent from three-point range through 19 games in 2010-11.
Pietrus, whose nationality and play earned him the nickname “Air France,” grew up in Les Abymes on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which is located approximately 310 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He left the island for France at the age of 15 to join the junior program of French powerhouse Pau Orthez (PO OR-tez), and played four seasons professionally for Pau Orthez after making his debut at the age of 17.
Pietrus was originally selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and spent his first five career seasons in Oakland before signing a free-agent deal with Orlando on July 10, 2008. A key reserve during the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, Pietrus averaged 10.5 points while appearing in all 24 games that postseason.
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