When General Manager Otis Smith and the Orlando Magic front office decided to re-sign the former NBA Slam Dunk champion Jason Richardson to a hefty four-year, $25 million contract, all of O-Town was up in arms.
After a less-than-stellar stint with the Magic last season, Smith's decision to bring the veteran shooting guard back was quite mind-boggling.
Richardson was never really a great fit in O-Town, as his scoring average and field goal percentage took huge dips after the Phoenix Suns shipped Richardson to the Magic, but Smith still found a reason to bring the elder Richardson back.
Not only was Richardson not as efficient scoring the ball, but it was painfully obvious the former Michigan State Spartan had lost a considerable amount of the athleticism that made him a star from day one of his rookie season.
Instead of taking the ball to the hole strong and performing the ridiculous, rim-rattling dunks we have been accustomed to seeing the last decade, Richardson would rather sit at the three-point line and jack up any ball that came in his direction. He shot a lousy 43 percent from the field and looked like shell of his former self.
For some odd reason, however, Otis Smith saw Richardson as a necessity to bring back. Sure, Richardson does make the Orlando Magic a better ball squad, but bringing J-Rich back for four years makes absolutely no sense.
As of right now, the Orlando Magic's primary goal is to convince Dwight "Superman" Howard to stay within the organization. The only way they can accomplish this difficult task is to acquire another superstar. So why would you waste your cap space on a player that is definitely on the downside of his career?
There are few organizations that would want to add a cumbersome contract like J-Rich's, let alone give up their star player for him.
However, if there is one reason Orlando Magic fans are furious about this transaction, it is the fact Richardson will send J.J. Redick back to the bench.
Since being drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Redick has improved his game immensely to the point that he is no doubt a starting-caliber shooting guard. Not only can he score the ball in a variety of ways, but he brings energy and hustle to a team that desperately lacks it.
So far this season, Jason Richardson seems to have regressed once again. After a horrendous two-point performance in the season opener versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, Richardson followed up with a forgettable 10 points versus the Houston Rockets and an inefficient 16 points versus the New Jersey Nets. Redick, on the other hand, is absolutely outplaying the veteran shooting guard. After knocking down eight points in the season opener, the last two games Redick has had inputs of 15 and 20 points.
There is some hope, however, that a lineup change is in store in the near future. Coach Stan Van Gundy has hinted to the possibility veterans in the starting core could be replaced due to their lack of energy.
Hopefully Richardson is one of those veterans.
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