Denton: Big Week for Redick & His Future
By John Denton
February 18, 2013
ORLANDO – There was a time, some five years ago when J.J. Redick not only wondered about his future with the Orlando Magic, but also whether or not he’d even be in the NBA at all much longer.
Those trying times taught Redick the foolishness of consuming himself with hypothetical situations, so he learned to better live in the present and not focus so much on what could potentially happen.
With the NBA’s trade deadline just days away, Redick’s future with the Magic could once again be in doubt because of the interest throughout the league he has generated with his vastly improved play. But Redick said on Monday that regardless of whether he’s dealt by Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline or if he remains with the Magic, he will be understanding of the situation at hand. And he’s not going to worry himself silly about it.
``The Magic – and I know this from experience – regardless of any personal feelings or emotional attachments or anything, the team is going to do what they feel is the best thing for the team,’’ Redick said. ``There won’t be any hard feelings if I get traded in three days or they elect to not re-sign me this summer. There won’t be any hard feelings. I know this is a business.’’
Because of the uncertainty at hand, Redick could be about to play his final home game for the Magic when Orlando (15-37) hosts the Charlotte Bobcats (12-40) on Tuesday night at the Amway Center. Or if the trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Redick is still with the Magic, life will go on as usual. Redick said that he refuses to put any added significance into Tuesday’s game as some sort of finale in front of the fans who regularly give him warm ovations.
``Then, you’re dealing with another hypothetical,’’ Redick said, referring to Tuesday’s game possibly being his final game in Orlando with the Magic. ``The right thing to do is to assume that I’ll be playing here for the Magic on Saturday night against Cleveland.’’
Redick’s future is at issue, of course, because he has turned himself into one of the NBA’s best sixth men and a lethal weapon off the Magic’s bench. He has done so by improving tremendously each season in the NBA. He’s averaging career-bests in scoring (15.3 ppg.) and assists (4.4). He’s already made a career-high 116 3-pointers and his 45.9 percent shooting is also the best of his seven-year career.
That increased production has made Redick one of the most talked-about players at the trade deadline. No fewer than a half-dozen teams – Boston, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Chicago, Indiana and Philadelphia – have been rumored to have interest in the Magic’s shooting guard. Those teams would likely need an assurance that Redick – an unrestricted free agent at season’s end – would be willing to sign long term before making a trade.
Of course, the possibility still exists that Redick could remain in Orlando beyond Thursday and into the offseason. Completely aware of Redick’s importance to the team, his influence on the Magic’s young players and the shooting guard’s popularity among fans, Magic GM Rob Hennigan has had discussions about the possibility of keeping Redick long term. He and Redick’s representative, Arn Tellem, have had preliminary talks about a possible long-term deal.
``As far as I know, with the two conversations that I’ve had with Rob, and with Rob and Arn talking, both sides are open to continuing this relationship,’’ Redick said. ``I think that’s the best way to put it, but this is a business and they have to make the best decision for them.’’
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn has grown quite fond of Redick because of the veteran guard’s dedication to making himself a better player. Redick came to camp in great shape following an offseason of intensive workouts, he’s worked hard in practice and hit big shots in games and he’s been a positive influence on rookies Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless.
``For us, he’s been unbelievable,’’ Vaughn raved. ``He’s been great with his approach, with practice, with the way he’s played and he’s been a true professional.’’
Vaughn also gushed about the way that Redick has kept his focus while his name has constantly been floated about in trade rumors to different teams. Added Vaughn:
``He’s done it in a very professional manner. We as an organization and coaches have approached it as business as normal and that’s been a great approach for him. He comes to work, does his job and that’s the best way to get through it.’’
A somewhat compulsive planner at times, Redick doesn’t like having his fate twist in the wind and to be unable to decide what’s around the proverbial corner for him. But it was his first two years in the NBA – when he rarely ever played under then-Magic coaches Brian Hill and Stan Van Gundy. At that time, he took solace in knowing that some teams in Europe might want him someday if and when he fizzled out of the NBA.
But Redick re-sculpted his body and dramatically improved his game to the point that he not only stuck around the NBA, but came a fixture in Orlando. He said now he could have never seen any of this coming five years ago, so why should be worry about what’s ahead before Thursday’s deadline?
``It’s weird because five or six years ago I never thought I’d still be here in Orlando. I’ve learned this from personal experience – that’s why you can’t get caught up in hypotheticals or potential situations,’’ Redick said. ``There was one point in time that I was excited that MP Russia was interested in me. Ultimately, you’ve got to trust God and put your life in God’s hands and take care of what you can control. Circumstances you can’t always control, but the other stuff you can.
``So I’m very proud that I have the respect of the people in this organization and my teammates and obviously the Orlando community,’’ Redick continued. ``It’s been a blessing for (wife) Chelsea and I to be involved and give back (to the Orlando community). Every time I check into the game, I’m grateful for that stuff and I don’t want to overlook that stuff. I’m so grateful.’’
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