It appears the Rafer Alston trade cost the Magic a little more than originally reported. The team has confirmed that Alston comes to the Magic, Brian Cook goes to the Rockets, while Adonal Foyle, Mike Wilks and the Magic 2009 first round pick go to the Memphis Grizzlies. Wilks, who was injured in preseason and is out for the year won’t be missed, but Foyle is a solid locker room presence and valuable insurance in case of Dwight Howard foul trouble. Fan-favorite Marcin Gortat, who has served as Howard’s primary back-up all season, has definitely earned the confidence of the front office. One thing that I haven’t seen reported about the trade is the valuable trade exemptions the Magic will also receive. Because the team only got back Alston while giving up three players, the Magic will get two trade exemptions. One for Wilks’ salary (757,000) and one for Foyle’s salary (757,000). These can be used to as substitutes for player salaries in future trades. The exemptions are good for 365 days. This also leaves the Magic with only 13 players on the active roster, meaning the team could add up to two free agents. In order to be eligible for the playoffs, the players would have to be signed by March 1. This bit of sad news came along with the official press release from the Magic announcing the Alston trade:
” [Magic GM Otis] Smith also announced that Magic All-Star point-guard Jameer Nelson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday afternoon. The procedure, performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham , Alabama , was successful and rehabilitation is estimated at four-to-six months. Nelson dislocated his right shoulder and suffered a torn labrum on Feb. 2 vs. Dallas”
While it’s sad that Nelson is officially done for the year, it’s much easier to swallow with Alston on board. And with Cook, Wilks and Foyle gone, the Magic have an opportunity to take a look at a couple of free agents or D-League guys. I wouldn’t mind seeing someone like James Augustine make a return to the team, but maybe that’s just because he’s a funny dude. What do you think? Would you like to see the Magic add two players to fill the empty roster spots? Who do you have in mind?