Magic Eye Tony Battie, Ronny Turiaf as Replacement for Marcin Gortat
The Magic, according to NBA sources, would like to use backup point guard Chris Duhon as trade bait, but they also would be willing to use small forward Quentin Richardson to get what they want.
After trading center Marcin Gortat to Phoenix as part of a six-player deal Saturday, the Magic are in serious need of more experienced size in the front court to match up against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic restructured their roster Saturday by adding guard Gilbert Arenas from Washington, along with guard/forward Jason Richardson, small forward Hedo Turkoglu and second-year forward Earl Clark of Phoenix. They traded away Rashard Lewis to Washington, and Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Gortat to Phoenix.
Although the Magic became more talented and more athletic with the Saturday trades – getting more playmakers on the roster – it also left them vulnerable against bigger teams in the NBA.
The Magic primarily are looking for someone to play 8-12 minutes per night behind Howard. Battie, 34, hardly has played in Philadelphia after signing a one-year contract this summer.
He was in the Magic locker room Saturday night after his Sixers played Orlando, visiting with Howard, who still views Battie as a friend and mentor. Battie played with the Magic for four seasons (2004-09).
Battie just smiled politely when asked about the possibility of coming back to Orlando to finish his career.
"I play for the Sixers now,'' he said, declining further comment.
Turiaf, 27, would be more difficult to acquire. He has been serving as the backup to Amar'e Stoudemire in New York, although the Knicks would like to find playing time for young center Timofey Mozgov. Turiaf is making $4 million this season and has an option at $4.3 million next season.
Although the Knicks are thrilled with Raymond Felton at point guard, they have been looking for a reliable backup. Duhon was the starter under Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni last season before leaving as a free agent for Orlando.
Battie, after playing in New Jersey last season, came to Philadelphia with a one-year, $1.3 million deal. He is averaging 10.4 minutes in 18 games.
Until adding another big man, the Magic have only little-used journeyman Malik Allen as an undersized backup for Howard.
"To say we're completely done at this point? I'd beg to differ,'' Magic general manager Otis Smith said. "We still need another big. That's something we'll be trying to address in the next month or so.''
Smith declined to say who he would be targeting, but his intent was clear.