Afflalo or Redick? The Magic must make a trade
The Magic must make a decision. They have two shooting guards on their roster that while both being very good players, still remain as role players. The entire roster at the moment is role players. A team that is struggling to get wins and is in obvious “rebuild” mode, can’t field a winner – or try to shape themselves into a winner – with role players.
GM Rob Hennigan has made no secret that his goal is to gain flexibility. Flexibility comes in terms of cap room and draft picks. Right now, the flexibility isn’t terrible but it also isn’t optimum. The draft picks obtained so far, have little value in the immediate outside of Orlando’s own picks.
So the team is left with a decision. Nobody on the roster is untouchable for the right deal, but the deals that teams will be/are calling on involve two primary players. Those two players happen to play the same position and come July 2013, will likely have similar contracts.
The Magic must figure out a way to trade either Afflalo or Redick by the February 21st trade deadline.
Trading Redick will be unpopular with the already frustrated fan base, but most will understand the unfortunate nuances involved with the “business of basketball”. Trading Afflalo, who I believe is a bad fit for a rebuilding team, will be much harder simply based on having an active contract (3 years, $22M remaining).
The Magic want to re-sign Redick this offseason. He is a great leader and does so many little things well that he makes his teammates better when he is on the court. His size will never change and he will never be a great individual defender, but he understands principles of the game on both ends of the court. Most importantly, he appropriately understands how he fits into those principles. Further, the “J.J. Redick brand” has more value to the Orlando Magic franchise than any other team in the league when you calculate in the off-court marketing opportunities.
Arron Afflalo is a better defender and scorer than Redick. He is bigger and offers more versatility to a coach. But the majority of the time, he doesn’t make his teammates better. He is just a bad fit on this struggling and rebuilding team.
So Hennigan is faced with the fact that he can’t afford to pay two 28/29 year old shooting guards that have for the most part “peaked” in terms of ceiling, a combined ~$15M a year – or the equivalent of the early max contract. One player has to go.
Emotion is involved with Redick. He is easily the fan favorite on this team (page views prove it), but as much as emotion is involved, so is risk. A weaker offer for Afflalo on the surface (cap relief without picks), isn’t necessarily a worse long term deal. The risk comes in calculating whether they can get Redick back for the right deal. If they think some desperate team (it only takes one) will throw a boat load of money at him in the offseason, how can they risk not moving J.J. now for the best deal?
The Magic are not building around either player, so they must decide which guy the team can trust to help best develop the young talent that flows into the franchise in the next 2-3 years. More importantly, they must see which deals offered gives them the best long term value. Both players have value to teams around the league and are pieces that should fit in immediately on competing teams.
What we do know is, they must make a choice. Hennigan, for the future of the franchise, must pull the trigger on a deal in the next month.