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Breaking Down the -Necessary- J.J. Redick Deal

2013 February 21
by Brian Serra

Redick-MilwaukeeWe all knew it was coming. You either buried your head in the sand and tried to ignore it, or you faced the realities of the NBA salary cap  and knew J.J. Redick would be traded.  Orlando had to make a deal. Do you think it was an accident that earlier this week Redick’s agent floated that he’d be looking at deal’s in the 4-year, $40M range? It was not. That is posturing. Hennigan knew that and saw the writing on the wall. There is no such thing as a multi-million dollar hometown discount at the age of 29.

The deal came down to the 3:00 PM deadline and Hennigan struck where the best deal was at. Casual fans won’t understand it, but remember, the Magic had to trade either Redick or Afflalo - you can’t pay the equivalent of a max salary to two role players. Redick was the hot commodity, he was the one who had to go.

GOING OUT

Orlando sends to Milwaukee: J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith. Only $951,463 in guaranteed future salary.

For the purposes of this analysis I am going to ignore Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith. Ayon is a decent backup big with a great contract, but he is undersized and lacks the athleticism to make up for it. Ish Smith couldn’t shoot 50% if he was in the gym by himself. Both guys are borderline NBA players and were throw in’s to make the salary math work.

With Redick leaving, the Magic lose their most productive playmaker, the guy that made his teammates substantially better and arguably the face of the franchise post-Dwight. On a team lacking marketability, Redick’s smile and heart and hustle kept the fans tuning in. But he was going to leave. At 29 years old, this is likely Redick’s last chance to truly cash in on all the hard work he has put in to become the player he is today. J.J. is a smart enough man to know that if he wasn’t going to win OR get paid with the Magic.

The Orlando front office could not turn down the chance to obtain long-term value for their short-term asset.

COMING IN 

Milwaukee sends to Orlando: Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb. Magic take on $3.25M in guaranteed future salary.

Beno Udrih is a 9-year veteran point guard who will play out the remaining 28 games of the season and then vanish into the Magic history books. Udrih is a solid reserve PG, but he and his $7M expiring contract was placed into this deal to make the cap work. Thanks for your time, Beno.

Doron Lamb is a rookie out of the University of Kentucky and was the 42nd pick in last year’s draft. The 6’5″ shooting guard has played sparingly so far this season but was considered to be a likely late first round pick coming out of college after two years at UK before slipping into the second round. The Bucks signed him to a 3-year deal worth $2.4M last summer after he put up 14ppg in the Vegas Summer League. Lamb is exactly the type of player that the Magic are targeting right now: high upside, low contract risk.

Tobias Harris was the main get in this deal. The 6’8″ forward is in his second season in the NBA after playing just one year of college ball at Tennessee (15.3 pppg, 7.3rpg). He was drafted 19th overall in the 2011 draft, three spots after Nik Vucevic. The “combo-forward” doesn’t appear to do anything terribly well, but he has shown a tremendous work ethic so far in Milwaukee and earned early playing time over veterans. His playing time has been stagnant in his second season and his numbers don’t really show anything that stands out. What he does provide is another low risk, high reward piece to the Magic portfolio.

At this point the Magic aren’t necessarily trying to find specific pieces that they can develop into a championship team. They are trying to hopefully strike gold with one of these guys like they have with Vucevic. The “process” that is often referred to has to paint broad strokes. Strike gold here, fizzle out there. The ultimate goal is to create flexibility that leads you to an elite player.

Turning the expiring Redick contract into two (solid) rookie deals leads you closer to that long-term flexibility than it would have to keep Redick and then see him walk this summer. It is painful for Magic fans to see that the only players left from the ’09 Finals squad are an oft-injured Jameer Nelson and the suspended Hedo Turkoglu. But this is a rebuild. And this is the, necessary, process.

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