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Carter heads home, Cavaliers land Shaq

EIGHT-TIME NBA All-Star Vince Carter was traded by the New Jersey Nets to his hometown of Orlando and the Eastern Conference champion Magic on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers also acquired 15-time All-Star Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.

The Nets dealt Carter, who grew up in Daytona Beach and lives in Orlando, and forward Ryan Anderson to the Magic for 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.

Orlando is hoping Carter, who has averaged 23.5 points over a 10-year pro career, will provide center 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 Nets get a solid backup for point guard Devin Harris in Alston and a talent who showed flashes of stardom in Lee. The trade gives the Nets some US$18 million in salary cap relief for the 2010-11 season.

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.

Free agent

Meanwhile, Hedo Turkoglu's agent said yesterday that he sent a notice to Orlando earlier this week that his client will opt out of his contract to become a free agent. Agent Lon Babby said the Magic had made Turkoglu an initial offer that Smith described as a "jumping off point."

But Carter's acquisition signals the Magic are jumping in another direction.

Orlando's payroll will likely dip into the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history, and Turkoglu is looking for a big payday after helping the Magic reach the NBA finals last season. He will be a free agent on July 1.

"We will see what the market holds on July 1, but that market will surely be robust for Hedo," Babby said.


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