EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vince Carter is going home to Orlando, and to the Eastern Conference champion Magic.
The New Jersey Nets dealt the eight-time NBA All Star, who grew up in Daytona Beach and lives in Orlando, and forward Ryan Anderson to the Magic on Thursday for shooting guard Courtney Lee, point guard Rafer Alston, and power forward Tony Battie.
The trade gives the Magic another star in a lineup that already includes Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. The deal might also convince Hedo Turkoglu, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1, to remain with the Magic.
Orlando is hoping Carter, who has averaged 23.5 points over a 10-year pro career, will provide center Dwight 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."
Carter found out about the trade at his basketball camp, adding he thought it was a joke at first.
"Every player hopes for an opportunity like this, to just once compete for an NBA championship," Carter said. "This a dream come true for me. Now I have a chance to win a championship."
The Nets get a solid backup for point guard Devin Harris in Alston and a talent who showed flashes of stardom in Lee.
"We believe that in Courtney Lee, we have acquired a young, dynamic player who will be a very good player in this league for a number of years," Nets President Rod Thorn said.
Lee, a rookie from Western Kentucky last season, was a late first-round pick in 2008 and turned out to be one of the Magic's few bright spots in recent drafts. Lee started 42 games and was a solid contributor for the Magic last season, averaging 8.4 points per game.
But the Magic were willing to give up Lee to acquire Carter and clear payroll.
"I thought they liked Courtney Lee, especially after the way he played in the finals," Miami forward Michael Beasley said at the Heat draft party. "So, so unexpected. ... Vince Carter, great player. I think him and Dwight Howard can do great things together. Vince Carter is a lot like Hedo Turkoglu, better in some sense. I think they can do great things together."
With Jameer Nelson already named the starting point guard for next season, the team was looking to move Alston — and his $5.25 million contract that ends after next season.
Alston was acquired at the trade deadline from the Houston Rockets after Nelson suffered what was then called a season-ending shoulder surgery. Alston's acquisition largely saved the Magic's season, but when Nelson was able to return for the finals, Alston complained about his minutes and the point guards never could find their rhythm.
The Magic's biggest cost-cutting move is parting ways with the 33-year-old Battie, who will make $6.2 million next season in the final year of his contract.
The trade gives the Nets some $18 million in salary cap relief for the 2010-11 season.
Carter carried most of the offensive load for New Jersey last season, along with Harris and rookie center Brook Lopez.
Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward who was the 21st pick overall in last year's draft, started 30 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.