With the trade deadline looming (Thursday, February 24), it should be no surprise rumors around the Magic are heatin..."/> With the trade deadline looming (Thursday, February 24), it should be no surprise rumors around the Magic are heatin..."/>

A Rundown Of The Rumors


With the trade deadline looming (Thursday, February 24), it should be no surprise rumors around the Magic are heating up.

After dealing backup center Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns, it was widely thought the Magic needed a big man to back up Dwight Howard.

Despite Earl Clark making a nice attempt of getting into the rotation and giving the Magic some effective minutes when he’s had time, the Magic still don’t have a legitimate backup center and have been forced to use the undersized Brandon Bass in two roles (he’s the starting power forward). They’ve also had to use Malik Allen and he really shouldn’t be getting minutes for a team that considers themselves a legitimate contender.

Let’s take a look at some of the rumors:

Tony Battie

The hype around a potential Battie trade has tied down because, well, Battie isn’t worth very much any more. He’s a great locker room presence and was the perfect player to help mentor and protect Dwight Howard. Battie turned 36 just one week ago and is only averaging 2.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in 30 games for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Still, Battie is a better option than Allen and if the Magic strike out elsewhere, Battie can probably be had at a cheap price.

Troy Murphy

This move makes sense the Magic. Over Murphy’s career, he’s been a very good three-point shooter (39.1%) and a good rebounder (he’s grabbed 8.5 per game over and has a rebounding percentage of 16.1% over his career.

However, acquiring someone like Murphy could be tough. The Nets would obviously love to move Murphy and what’s left of his salary this season (he was owed just under $12 million this season). If Murphy isn’t traded and is indeed bought out, several other contenders including the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and several other teams are expected to make a run at Murphy.

Here’s what Adrian Wojnarowski had to say about Murphy:

"The Hornets will likely be in pursuit of New Jersey Nets forward Troy Murphy(notes) once the Nets reach a buyout agreement with him after the trade deadline. Nets coach Avery Johnson made clear he didn’t want Murphy after the three-team trade that brought him from the Indiana Pacers. Trade talks have gone nowhere for Murphy, who has an expiring contract. Nets GM Billy King will ultimately work a buyout to free Murphy to sign elsewhere.In addition to the Hornets, several other teams are expected to show interest in Murphy, including the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks, sources said."

Chris Manninx of Sports Illustrated also touched on any potential deal involving the Magic and listed Orlando as Murphy’s “most likely destination.”

"The Magic have become a game of Mad Libs. Any report that reads “Orlando called (insert team name) to express interest in (insert power forward/center)” is probably true. GM Otis Smith has come up empty so far in search of a backup big man to replace Marcin Gortat. That Smith has tried to dampen expectations means he is not optimistic about landing one before the deadline. Orlando’s best hope may be for the Nets to negotiate a buyout with Murphy, whose most likely destination would be Orlando, according to a source."

Of course, Murphy is a power forward, not a center and despite his solid rebounding throughout his career, he’s not necessarily equipped to go bang down low. He could reduce Ryan Anderson’s minutes and Anderson has been a very productive player.

Zach Randolph

Although he’s had a bad wrap during his career, the big man can really score and rebound. This season, he’s averaging 20.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are not optimistic about retaining Randolph, who’s in the last year of his contract and would certainly like to trade him if they really believe they can’t keep him but this deal seems to be nothing more than speculation on the part of writer Sam Smith and seems extremely unlikely.

The best case scenario? Murphy is bought out and joins the Orlando Magic. Van Gundy finds a place for Murphy, while still giving Anderson and Bass the minutes they deserve.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).