The Orlando Magic have been more competitive than expected this season, which makes Rob Hennigan's decision regarding the future of JJ Redick more complicated.
Prior to the season, the Magic were projected to be one of the league's worst teams. Through the season's first quarter, the Magic have been anything but a laughingstock.
Through hard work and gritty play, Jacque Vaughn's team has compiled a 12-13 record.
The Magic are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and are only one game behind the Boston Celtics. While a postseason berth remains unlikely, it's hard not to fall in love with this scrappy team.
Redick has been one of the team's most important players, as his PER of 15.9 is second on the team. Only Andrew Nicholson has posted a higher PER, although Redick plays 15 minutes per game on average which makes his number more accurate.
Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis are leading the team in scoring with 16 points per game each, but Redick is not far behind with an average of 14.2.
While his scoring production would likely decline slightly if traded, that would be a consequence of his lessened role on his new team compared to his current role in the Magic offense.
Since his college days at Duke, Redick has been known as a lethal shooter from behind the arc.
Redick has been much more than a shooting specialist this season, as he has played a big role in running the offense. JJ is averaging 4.9 assists per game thus far, which is the second highest total on the team behind Jameer Nelson.
One area in which every team in the league could use a boost is bench production, as there will never be enough quality bench players in the league to satisfy everyone.
JJ is also in the final season of his contract, so the team that acquires him would have the option to free up some money rather than attempting to re-sign him in the offseason. This will make him attractive to teams that are looking to lower their salary to avoid the luxury tax.
Redick's defense has improved rapidly in recent seasons, and he is no longer a liability on that end of the court.
Redick's value will never be higher than it is now because he has never played such a big role before. Even more than that, Redick is thriving as Orlando's sixth man and is on the fringe of the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
As the team is currently composed, the Magic will not be able to reach their ultimate goal, which is to win a championship.
In order to raise a banner, the Magic will need to draft at least one franchise-changing player.
Hennigan plans on using the Oklahoma City Thunder as his model, as he was a member of the front office that drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
While there are no guarantees the Magic will be able to acquire such talent through the draft, it's the only way in which they will be able to regain the status they held during the Dwight Howard era.
Hennigan should trade Redick for future assets, because it doesn't matter how many games the Magic win this year. What the roster looks like two or three years down the road is all that truly matters, which is why Hennigan will pull the trigger before the trading deadline.