Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick enters restricted free agency on July 1.
Many think Redick will play elsewhere next season. Those same analysts believe Redick will command too high a salary for the Magic to match.
Others foresee Redick staying with Orlando, maybe even for a smaller salary, to remain on a contending team. Redick has stated that winning meant more than money.
Orlando values Redick's contributions to the team. How much Orlando values him will be seen when the team must ante up this summer.
Other teams will do the same.
If other front offices value Redick more than the Magic, Orlando possesses options. They could trade him by July 8, or they could just let him walk.
Based upon forecasts that Redick will be highly sought after, the Magic could already be thinking trade.
Would two Matt Barnes-type players be worth one Redick?
Would an extra middle first round pick make up for Redick's absence?
To answer those questions, you must establish what the team would lose when Redick leaves.
Could Orlando replace what he brings?
No player on the Magic, maybe even in the NBA, works harder than J.J. He brings a competitiveness that many of his teammates clearly lacked.
With Redick, you get a complete college career, under the tutelage of one of the game's greatest coaches. Redick's basketball knowledge shows on the court, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals.
One of the Duke alum's best skills, the ability to pass into the post, goes mostly ignored. He's also proved that he is willing to work defensively, even with more athletic players.
He's improved his ball handling and learned how to attack the rim.
Seems obvious that the Magic should do whatever they can, within reason, to keep Redick. Right?
However, the case can be made to trade Redick.
The one thing he does better than anyone on the Magic, which is to work hard at getting better, won't be enough to keep Redick on the team.
Another player with more talent has less of a need to work as hard as Redick.
Redick can handle the ball, but not well enough to play the point. Many combo guards, those with the ability to play both the one and the two, will be available in this year's draft.
The argument could be made that trading JJ for an additional first round draft pick could be more valuable than keeping Redick.
Adding a more athletic, and skilled ball handler holds top priority. Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson are likely headed for the unemployment line.
JJ came to the league known as a lights out shooter. His percentages from long range don't necessarily stand out. But they aren't bad.
The problem is that Redick lacks the consistency, night-in and night-out, to force teams to respect him as a legitimate offensive threat.
Defensively, Redick holds his own. But no one would describe him as lock-down performer on that end.
In a nut-shell, Redick could be replaced.
Whether the Magic want to replace him remains to be seen.
If JJ wants to stay in Orlando, big offers from other teams could hurt his cause.
Seeing a high value placed upon Redick's services from other teams could quite possibly send general manager Otis Smith into trade mode.
One important aspect of first round draft choices—they come with an exemption and slotted salary.
In his words, Smith says the Magic only need to add “one or two” more pieces. He could get key pieces on the cheap with extra draft choices, trades, or both.
He would lose an experienced character player. One who works harder and wants to compete.
Only time will tell how much the well is worth.
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