According to Orlando Sentinel writer Brian Schmidtz, Otis Smith is quoted as saying “We anticipate matching his offer.” The decision will be made tomorrow, but the market is thin for shooting guards of J.J.’s abilities, and the Magic will be in a bad position to contend with teams with free cap space considering they only have veteran’s minimums and the biannual exception at 2.1 million. That isn’t good when you have to compete with the ‘it’ team Miami who can offer basically the same thing.
Ownership will have final say on the matter, but one thing is for sure: there will not be another shooting guard with J.J.’s ability and upside available for what the Magic have to offer. And after how much work has been put into J.J. to get him to this point it would seem foolish for Orlando to part with him. The opportunity cost is great for allowing J.J. to leave, and quite frankly, in a division as talented as the Southeast, it is foolish to give up your firepower.
Recent history would also suggest that Smith will match the offer for J.J. as he “overpaid” for Gortat last year by matching Dallas. Smith is bidding his time in order to keep Chicago’s money on hold and to give him time to explore trade options. Some have suggested that getting Quentin Richardson is a sign that Otis is letting J.J. go. I, for one, do not believe this to be the case. While Richardson is a talented enough 2/3, he is not an upgrade for J.J. Redick (especially when you add in the upside), but more for Matt Barnes (who had similar rebounding, but lower 3 point shooting than Q-Rich. Plus I refuse to believe that the three years in Stan Van Gundy’s system doesn’t make a player much more appealing to SVG.
While the short-term reprecussions of signing J.J. can hurt the pocketbook, the long term of letting a young player go in his prime to another team after you spent all that time training him is devastating. As one of my favorite writers Vic Ketchman likes to say "Take care of the future, and the future will take care of the present." This needs to be the underlying thought in Orlando's mind, you don't want a 34 year old Vince Carter as your only real SG option in a season. No matter what happens as fan's of the Magic we know that Orlando’s big ‘decision’ of this summer will be made tomorrow; I just hope that the Magic's curse of losing young players who go on to have great careers doesn't continue.