Today, the Magic signaled change by signing Miami Heat free agent forward Quentin Richardson. This move most likely means that the Magic will not be matching J.J. Redick's $19 million offer from the Chicago Bulls.
Is this a good move for the Magic? One way of looking at it is that the Magic may have filled Redick's spot and production with Richardson, who put up very similar stats and is signing for about one-third of what Redick commands.
Last year, playing for the Heat, Richardson averaged 8.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg, while shooting a solid 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from behind the arc, doing this in 27 minutes a game.
Compare these stats to Redick and you see there isn't much of a drop off in production. Redick averaged 9.6 ppg and 1.9 rpg, shooting 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point territory. So, while Redick averages less than a point more than Richardson, Richardson brings added rebounding and shoots roughly the same percentage everywhere except at the free throw line, where Richardson's 73 percent pales in comparison to Redick's 86 percent.
The Magic can only hope that this move does not come back to haunt them. Financially, it makes sense, but the Magic have let a number of gems go who later go on to develop excellent NBA careers (Ariza is the most recent to do this).
Redick, unlike Richardson, has a lot of upside and is considerably younger, but this move shows that Otis Smith may think Redick does not have what it takes to be an NBA starter and that he isn't willing to pay a player $6 million plus per season as a backup guard.
Richardson is a cheap alternative, and will fit well in the Magic's three point shooting offense. Seven times last season, Richardson scored more than 20 points in a game; Redick only scored 20 plus four times, so you can see Richardson has the potential to explode on any given night more than Redick.
Ultimately, this signing is about saving money. The Magic are already well into the luxury tax and Richardson enables them to fill out their MLE or bi-annual veteran exception, both paying him roughly $2 million. Signing Redick, meanwhile, would have cost the Magic $12 million after paying the dollar-per-dollar luxury tax levied to teams above the salary cap.
The Magic still have five days to match Chicago's offer for Redick, but this move signals that they most likely will not match the offer.