J.J. Redick will not be a member of the Chicago Bulls next season, according to several reports.
Though the Bulls made it difficult for the Orlando Magic to match their three-year, nearly $20 million deal by frontloading the contract, the Magic felt it was worth the heavy luxury tax hit to keep their young shooting guard.
Redick has come a long way since being selected 11th overall out of Duke. He worked hard in the gym and bulked up while working on defensive foot speed.
All the while, of course, he never lost his jump shot.
Chicago nabbed sharpshooter Kyle Korver early in free agency, and many assumed the Bulls would get Redick as well to form one of the deadliest shooting duos in the league.
However, Orlando also places a premium on long-range shooting to keep the pressure off of its center, Dwight Howard. It is estimated that with the luxury tax hit, Redick will essentially cost the Magic $14 million next season.
That's lot to pay for a player who is likely to be a backup shooting guard.
Yet the Magic needed him, just as the Bulls did. Orlando is likely going to let Vince Carter go after the 2010-2011 season, and so it would be helpful for the team to have a serviceable in-house shooting guard.
Orlando did more than just keep its roster strong—it also prevented a potential Eastern Conference rival from poaching one of its up-and-coming players.
Let's face it: Redick was the cream of the crop in terms of shooting guards. Rumor has it that the Bulls are now targeting Ronnie Brewer, who, like Carlos Boozer and Korver, previously played for Utah.
He has significantly better defensive skills than Redick and has similar size, slashing ability, and basketball knowledge.
However, he cannot compete with Redick on three-point shooting. While Redick converted on about 40 percent of his shots, Brewer only hit 20 percent of his.
Needless to say, Brewer can't spread the floor like J.J. can.
But it is over and done. The Bulls need to move on, and Brewer is their best chance at a decent shooting guard after missing out on Raja Bell and Anthony Morrow.
Then they can re-sign Brad Miller or another competent center, get another shooting guard to balance out the strengths and weaknesses of Brewer, and finish off a busy free agency with a backup point guard to give Rose a breather.
The Bulls missed a potentially good signing, but all hope is not lost if they continue to spend wisely and build a young and smart squad in Chicago.