Quentin Richardson: Most Valuable Trade Bait?

Dannie HaynesContributor IJuly 20, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 07:  Quentin Richardson #23 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Charlotte Bobcats on March 7, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Quentin Richardson has had a most interesting offseason, and by now, I’m sure he has learned not to get settled too long because there is no telling where he might be tomorrow.

No, he hasn’t been appearing on late night talk shows or touring Europe.

Richardson has been bounced around the NBA, being in three separate trades in less than a month. Richardson is still a great shooter, but his skills have greatly diminished since his glory days in Phoenix.

It began on June 25, when it was announced that New York had traded away Richardson to the Memphis Grizzlies in order to acquire former second-overall pick Darko Milicic along with cash considerations.

Milicic would give the Knicks a backup plan in case David Lee changed teams and was much cheaper than Richardson.

Richardson gave the Grizzlies another scorer to match up with Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo.

It seemed like a trade that could benefit both teams.

Then, on July 17, Q-Rich was officially traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for forward Zach Randolph. This trade had been in the works for weeks already, so there was no surprise when it was announced.

Richardson would be returning to the team where his career started, and the Clips were counting on that to rejuvenate his career.

Again, this trade seemed beneficial to both teams, as Q-Rich would come off the Clippers' bench and be a shooter for the second unit while the Grizzlies gained a strong post presence.

There were some questions as to why the Grizzlies would risk Randolph’s notorious attitude rubbing off on their young, impressionable stars Gay and Mayo, but it was a risk they were willing to take.

However, only three days after this trade, it was announced that Q-Rich would again be traded. This time he was going to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Sebastian Telfair, Mark Madsen, and Craig Smith.

This trade was simply to show that the Timberwolves were serious about their draft choices of Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn as the future of their backcourt. While it still seems unlikely that Rubio will suit up this upcoming season, this no doubt should let Flynn know that he will be the starting point guard come opening night.

Telfair should be coming off the bench behind Baron Davis and help the second unit. Madsen and Smith will see little-to-no action.

This leads us to wonder, what is the future for Quentin Richardson? Is he a player that all these teams wanted but couldn’t pass on the opportunity to unload his hefty contract and improve at the same time?

I think it’s arguable that each of the teams that traded him away improved in the trades as well as saved some money this season.

The Knicks got younger and improved their frontcourt while saving money.

The Grizzlies added a much-needed post player.

The Clippers received a point guard in Telfair, who finally made some strides last year.

Meanwhile, Richardson has been going into each of these teams as a shooter and not much else. His best years are behind him, even at the age of 29. He would be nothing more than an expensive bench player. He is someone who could go off for 30 points at any given night, but he'll most likely to end up with seven.

Is Quentin Richardson even safe in Minnesota, or is he doomed to be traded once again? If I were Richardson, I wouldn’t go house hunting anytime soon.