Players Reflect on Thursday's Trades; Nelson Out With Strained knee; Harrington Will Dress and Could Make Debut

By John Denton
February 22, 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It didn’t matter if it was a nine-year veteran such as Jameer Nelson or young players like Andrew Nicholson or E’Twaun Moore, it was a difficult moment for many members of the Orlando Magic to see four players leave via trade on Thursday.

Nelson, the Magic’s longest-tenured player, told the story on Friday of how the team looked on as J.J. Redick, Josh McRoberts, Ish Smith and Gustavo Ayon were informed that they had been traded. The team bus was on the tarmac at Dallas’ Love Field about to board a plane for Memphis, when four members of the team stayed behind on the bus and were eventually told they had been traded. Redick, Ayon and Smith were traded to Milwaukee for Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih, while McRoberts was dealt to Charlotte for Hakim Warrick.

Nelson, who joked that he had ``seen a lot of guys come and go in my nine years here,’’ watched the whole thing play out and admitted that it was somewhat surreal and shocking to the system.

``I’ve never been in anything like that and there was some suspense going on. It’s just one of those situations that you’ve never been in so you don’t know what’s going on. But things happened and guys were gone,’’ Nelson said. ``I guess there was some speculation that guys were maybe getting traded or possibly being dealt and those guys who were involved were told. They sat on the bus and everybody sat on the plane and the rest you could figure out from there.’’

Then, there was the perspective from Nicholson, a rookie power forward who was enduring his first NBA trade deadline. He had grown close to players such as Redick and Smith and was sad to see those players leave the team. But already Nicholson knows that professional basketball is a business.

``I have faith in our management and all of the decisions that they made and they have faith in us too, so I’m looking forward to finish the season here,’’ Nicholson said. Added Moore, a second-year guard: ``It was surprising. We thought everyone was safe (from getting traded) and that everyone was coming here to Memphis. It was shocking, and everyone was caught off guard.’’

Following Thursday’s trade, the Magic (15-39) expect to have just eight bodies in uniform tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies (35-18). Harris, Lamb and Udrih are in Orlando and have spoken to head coach Jacque Vaughn, but they won’t be cleared to play until Saturday night against Cleveland at the earliest.

Nelson is out with a strained patellar tendon in his knee. Al Harrington, who has yet to play all season following four procedures on his knee over the offseason, will dress tonight and could play if Vaughn decides to put him into the game.

``It’s a new experience for me and I actually haven’t even seen my jersey yet, so I’m looking forward to see what it looks like,’’ Harrington said with a laugh. ``I don’t even know what number I am, so we’ll see what it looks like. It’s coach’s decision (as to whether he plays or not). I’m ready and able, so we’ll see what happens. (Playing) is the only way to find out if I’m going to be able to play.’’

Vaughn is anxious to work with Harris, a 6—fot-8 small forward who is in his second NBA season. He got off to a strong start this season before injuring his elbow. Lamb, a rookie, and Udrih are point guards and the latter is a former teammate of Vaughn’s in San Antonio.

``I think Tobias’ ability to play multiple positions for us (will be nice). I’ve talked about the league transitioning to that area (where positions will be blurred), so I think he’ll be great for us,’’ said Vaughn, who talked to all three players over the phone.

``He’s an extremely hard worker and those are the kinds of guys we want to add to our mix and our locker room. And Doron, his ability to play multiple positions and shoot the basketball (will be nice). There’s tremendous improvement that both of these guys can make, and hopefully they will by spending time with us.’’

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