J.J. Redick Trade Rumors: Sharpshooter a Perfect Fit for Indiana Pacers

Justin OnslowContributor IIFebruary 20, 2013

January 27, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick (7) reacts after he made a basket against the Detroit Pistons during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick isn’t exactly a massive name in the NBA, but rumors of his potential exit from Orlando rival those of any star on the block this season.

Orlando has been rumored to want to move Redick for weeks. His contract expires at the end of the season, and the 28-year-old is said to be expecting an average salary of about $10 million per year on the open market this summer (via NBA Rumors).

While the Magic may choose to hold onto Redick past the deadline, it won’t be because of a lack of interest. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minnesota and Indiana have all inquired about the guard, who is averaging 15.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 in 31.6 minutes per game this season.

Each team has a legitimate reason to swing a deal for Redick, but the Pacers may need his services most, and he’d be a perfect fit in Indiana.

The Pacers approach the trade deadline with a 32-21 record, just 5.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. In keeping pace with the rest of the east, Indiana went 6-4 in their last 10 contests, and currently sits in third place with a good chance of making a move in its final 29 games.

The Pacers have gotten it done on the defensive end of the floor this season. Allowing just 89.9 points per game, Indiana is arguably the best defensive team in the league right now—one of the reasons the Pacers match up so well with the east-leading Heat.

While defense and rebounding aren’t problems, scoring certainly is, and that’s where Redick comes in.

The Pacers rank No. 28 in the NBA in points per game (92.8) and No. 26 in assists per contest (20.2). Defense wins championships, but Indiana isn’t going to get close to one if it can’t find more scoring.

Forwards Paul George and David West are both averaging better than 17 points per game this season, leading a team that certainly doesn’t lack frontcourt talent. Center Roy Hibbert is closing in on double-double territory, averaging 10 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest this year.

Indiana’s scoring problems stem from its backcourt.

Point guard George Hill has been a terrific asset on the offensive end (14.7 PPG), but he’s had to do too much, relinquishing a more facilitative role at the front of the offense in exchange for scoring. Hill is only averaging 4.9 assists this season—still tops on the team. Shooting guard Lance Stephenson’s 8.4 points per game aren’t exactly helping the cause, either.

Danny Granger is expected to return soon from a knee injury that has kept him off the court all season, but it remains to be seen how much the Pacers can rely on him going forward. There’s no questioning Granger’s talent, but Indiana won’t rush him back before he’s fully healthy, and it probably won’t rely on him to shoulder the perimeter offense.

Trading for Redick is the best solution for the Pacers right now, even if he only proves to be a 20-plus game rental. Indiana needs another perimeter scorer, and the Pacers could certainly use another shooter who can come off the bench.

The Pacers are already dangerous, and they’re going to contend for a high playoff seed this season. Without more perimeter scoring, though, Indiana doesn’t have a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. They need backcourt depth and another guard who can take the load off Hill’s shoulders.

According to Wojnarowski, Orlando is looking for a young talent and a first-round pick in exchange for Redick. That’s the asking price right now, but the Magic know they are probably going to lose Redick in free agency, and a team like Indiana may be able to call Orlando’s bluff. If the Pacers can land Redick without mortgaging the future, there’s no reason not to take a chance on him.

Less than a day remains before the deadline, and a lot can change before now and 3 p.m. ET tomorrow. As it stands, Indiana could have a strong chance to swing a deal for Redick, and they should certainly pursue that option.