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Richardson's offensive abilities are valuable, but are they worth what he will make in 2011-12?
Coming to Orlando in the Gortat-Turkoglu trade early last season, Richardson brought with him a hefty salary...over $14 million.
Richardson fit well with the Phoenix Suns, where he spent a good portion of his career. A deadly three-point shooter and versatile offensive weapon, he is naturally better suited with a “run and gun,” offense-first system.
However, on a team headlined by three-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, J. Rich became a defensive liability on the perimeter, putting Orlando at the mercy of sharp-shooting guards (especially when paired with fellow defensive scrub Gilbert Arenas...yikes).
Additionally, with an Orlando team stacked with capable three-point shooters (Anderson, Nelson, Redick, Turkoglu, Arenas, etc.), Richardson’s input in Orlando could best be described as “redundant.”
With Orlando (barring a trade) retaining all of their shooters for the 2011-12 season, don’t expect them to make a move to keep Richardson.
Expect an up-tempo team such as New York to offer him a hefty contract. The good news is that while Richardson will never live up to the huge salary he has coming, his talents won’t suffer hugely as he ages (he’ll turn 31 in January).
Don’t expect him to headline a team in three years, but he’ll be a good source of instant offense off the bench for years to come.