This Nov. 23, 2010, file photo shows Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, center, driving past Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala, left, and forward Andres Nocioni during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vu
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — The Orlando Magic made a major roster shake up by acquiring troubled guard Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards and Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson from the Phoenix Suns in trades Saturday.
The Magic sent forward Rashard Lewis to Washington and Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat to Phoenix in a separate trade. Orlando also received Earl Clark from the Suns.
"We needed a little bit more punch," Magic president Otis Smith said. "All those guys coming in have an ability to move the ball. After looking at our team through 25 games, we were missing a little something. Change was needed."
The overhaul was a major move for a franchise that began the season believing it had all the pieces for its first championship.
Instead, Orlando had lost five of its past six games to drop from first to fourth in the Eastern Conference. The slide was magnified by winning streaks of 11 by Miami and 12 by Boston, a ripple effect that was enough to force Orlando to revamp the roster.
The reacquistion of Turkoglu was a reversal of course. After losing in the NBA finals in the 2008-09 season, the Magic parted ways with Turkoglu — a fan favorite who went to Toronto — and traded with New Jersey to get Carter. The decision turned out to be a disaster; Carter struggled mightily in Orlando's disappointing exit in the East finals last season against Boston.
"I don't think it's admitting a mistake," he said. "I don't regret breaking up the finals team. It was the right decision at the time."
The Wizards and Suns were happy to part ways with pieces that didn't pan out.
Arenas was suspended 50 games last season for bringing a gun into Washington's locker room. He also faked an injury to sit out a preseason game this year, and his often critical remarks were a distraction for a young team now centered on No. 1 overall pick John Wall.
"We're totally in a rebuild," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "We've said that. We were in a situation where we had three of our top players play pretty much the same position in John (Wall) and Gilbert and Kirk (Hinrich)."
For the Suns, the deal was the first significant move pulled off by their new front office of president Lon Babby and general manager Lance Blanks. The deal addresses Phoenix's glaring weaknesses: a lack of size and poor defense.
"Carter and Pietrus give us a great defensive presence on the perimeter and they should be extremely dynamic offensively. And, of course, we all recognize that we had a need here for an increased interior presence, size and rebounding," Babby said. "And Gortat is really someone that we've had our eye on since we got here."
The Magic made strong pushes to acquire Denver's Carmelo Anthony or New Orleans' Chris Paul, but after little progress, they began seeking other options.
Smith has been a close friend and mentor to Arenas going back to their days at Golden State, when Smith was in the front-office and Arenas was a young player. Richardson was also with the Warriors for most of that time.
AP Sports Writers Joseph White in Washington and Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.