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“Carter and Pietrus give us a great defensive presence on the perimeter and they should be extremely dynamic offensively. And, of course, I think we all recognize that we had a need here for an increased interior presence, size and rebounding,” Babby said. “And Gortat is really someone that we’ve had our eye on since we got here.”

The Magic made strong pushes to acquire Denver’s Carmelo Anthony or New Orleans’ Chris Paul, but after little progress, they began seeking other options.

Smith has been a close friend and mentor to Arenas going back to their days at Golden State, when Smith was in the front office and Arenas was a young player. Richardson was also with the Warriors for most of that time.

One thing Smith said he’s not concerned about is Arenas‘ off-the-court troubles.

“We have a tendency not to forgive people in this country,” he said. “We have a tendency to hold onto things a little bit longer, particularly if they play professional sports.”

Of bigger concern than the off-court problems was the three-time All-Star’s constant knee problems, which limited Arenas to 47 games the previous three seasons. Healthy again, Arenas has averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 assists this year.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said point guard Jameer Nelson will remain the starter. And among Arenas, Richardson and Turkoglu, one player will have to come off the bench.

For now, the trades leave the Magic without a proven backup center.

“That’s the one thing in the move that I think Otis and I both had concerns with,” Van Gundy said. “We think it was worth the gamble.”


AP Sports Writers Joseph White in Washington and Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.