NBA: Nets send Vince Carter to Magic in 5-player deal
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vince Carter is going home to Orlando, and to the Eastern Conference champion Magic.
On a draft day when Cleveland made the biggest splash by trading for the Suns' Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando made a blockbuster move of its own in acquiring the Nets' Carter, an eight-time NBA All Star who grew up in Daytona Beach and lives in Orlando.
New Jersey also dealt forward Ryan Anderson to the Magic, who sent the Nets three players in return: Point guard Rafer Alston, shooting guard Courtney Lee and power forward Tony Battie.
The trade gives the Magic another star in a lineup that already includes Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. The deal might also convince Hedo Turkoglu, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1, to remain with the Magic.
Orlando is hoping Carter, who has averaged 23.5 points over a 10-year pro career, will provide center Dwight Howard with a perimeter scorer who can create his own shot — something they lacked in losing the NBA finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
It's also an indication the Magic believe their time is now.
"Vince gives us a veteran, go-to scoring presence, especially at the end of games," Orlando general manager Otis Smith said in a statement. "Our goal remains the same — to win a championship. Any time you can add an All-Star to help you reach your goals, you have to do it."
The deal shows the Nets are planning for free agency before the 2010-11 season, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire can test the market. The trade gives New Jersey some $18 million in salary cap relief for the 2010-11 coming out season.
"The trade we made today provides our franchise with numerous options in the long-term development of our team," Nets president Rod Thorn said in a statement.
In other Thursday trades:
— In exchange for sending O'Neal to Cleveland, Phoenix acquired center Ben Wallace, swingman Sasha Pavlovic, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and cash.
— The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Jamal Crawford from the Golden State Warriors for guards Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.
Besides clearing cap space, the Nets get a solid backup for point guard Devin Harris in Alston and a talent who showed flashes of stardom in Lee.
Lee, a rookie from Western Kentucky last season, was a late first-round pick in 2008 and turned out to be one of the Magic's few bright spots in recent drafts. Lee started 42 games and was a solid contributor for the Magic last season, averaging 8.4 points per game.
But the Magic were willing to give up Lee to acquire Carter and clear payroll.
With Jameer Nelson already named the starting point guard for next season, the team was looking to move Alston — and his $5.25 million contract that ends after next season.
Alston was acquired at the trade deadline from the Houston Rockets after Nelson suffered what was then called a season-ending shoulder surgery. Alston's acquisition largely saved the Magic's season, but when Nelson was able to return for the finals, Alston complained about his minutes and the point guards never could find their rhythm.
The Magic's biggest cost-cutting move is parting ways with the 33-year-old Battie, who will make $6.2 million next season in the final year of his contract.
Carter's departure ends the era of the Nets' Big Three. Point guard Jason Kidd was traded to Dallas early in 2008 and Richard Jefferson was dealt to Milwaukee on draft day a year ago for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.
Carter, who was acquired from Toronto in December 2004, carried most of the offensive load for New Jersey last season, along with Harris and rookie center Brook Lopez.
Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward who was the 21st pick overall in last year's draft, started 30 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Associated Press Writer Antonio Gonzalez in Orlando contributed to this report.