x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Heat gets to Orlando, and they scurry for aid

Orlando Magic blew up their roster and it seems that the powers that be could not handle being overtaken in the standings by the Heat and their too-cool superstars.

Sometimes you tweak a roster, sometimes you obliterate it. Normally, of course, you are not going all nuclear on a team who are 16-9 and still viewed by most as an NBA title threat.

But the Orlando Magic blew up their roster on Saturday, an unexpected December overhaul that can only be attributed to one thing: the Miami Heat.

It seems that the Magic powers that be could not handle, being overtaken in the standings by the Heat and their too-cool superstars.

If the Magic played in a different division, if they did not play in the same state as the Heat, maybe Orlando would not be panicking after losing five of six and start shaking up their roster.

Gone is Vince Carter, Orlando's No 2 scorer, to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. Gone is Richard Lewis, the No 4 scorer, to the Washington Wizards for the often troubled and injured Gilbert Arenas.

Still in place is Dwight Howard, the franchise centrepiece, but that still qualifies as a 40 per cent shake-up of the starting line-up.

Carter, 33, and Lewis, 31, were hardly kids and their production had been in decline, so the move is not as desperate as it first appears.

But Turkoglu is also 31 and has not been the same since leaving the Magic two years ago. And Arenas, though wildly talented, is a controversy machine still owed US$62 million (Dh 227.7m).

When you are feeling the Heat, though, you become very open to change.