Denton: Magic Players Ignoring Trade Rumors
By John Denton
February 19, 2013
ORLANDO – The days leading up to the NBA trade deadline can be stressful for some NBA players, but guards J.J. Redick and Arron Afflalo have vowed to push aside thoughts of rumored deals in an attempt to help the Orlando Magic start the final stretch of the season on a positive note.
Refreshed from a four-day break provided by the NBA All-Star Game, both Redick and Afflalo said on Tuesday that their focus was on trying to help the Magic (15-37) beat the Charlotte Bobcats (12-40) tonight at the Amway Center. The game is the start of a trying stretch for the Magic where they will play four games in the next five nights and six games in a nine-day stretch. After tonight’s game, Orlando leaves for Dallas where it will face the Mavericks on Wednesday.
``The first item of business for us and the first concentration for us has to be to continue to compete,’’ Redick said. ``In this league with so many games and as the season wears on, you can kind of look ahead. But our focus has to be getting better and competing. And the second part of that is improvement. We have a lot of young guys who are learning and as a team we can get better. And we have a lot of playoff teams coming up too, so if we can knock some of them off too that will help.’’
Sprinkled in the middle of the bevy of games coming up is the NBA’s trade deadline, which is Thursday at 3 p.m. Because the Magic are still in the midst of retooling their roster and looking to stockpile salary cap room and young prospects, the team could be looking to move Redick and/or Afflalo in the coming days. Both have had stellar seasons, rank first and second on the team in scoring and hold great value because of their professionalism and work ethics.
Redick, who can become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, praised Magic GM Rob Hennigan on Tuesday for keeping him informed about the process, something he was promised back before training camp. His agent, Arn Tellem, has talked with Hennigan about the likelihood of the shooting guard remaining in Orlando for several years to come. Hennigan has also informed Redick’s camp that the seven-year veteran has attracted much interest from teams around the NBA looking to possibly trade for him.
``It’s weird that you sometimes get a feeling – like, `I’m going to have a good game tonight’ or whatever it may be. But I don’t have a feeling either way on this one,’’ Redick said on Tuesday. ``So, if anything, I’m just waiting. But no gut-churning or nervousness. I’m still going to play basketball and it’s nothing life or death.’’
Afflalo, who has been traded twice in his NBA career, said he hasn’t contemplated the thought that he could be dealt prior to Thursday. He said he hasn’t asked Magic management if he would be traded because it simply isn’t a concern of his.
``Me personally, I’ve never really thought about it. Playing in the NBA is a privilege, so regardless of what team you are on you should be happy and appreciative,’’ Afflalo said. ``You don’t like to have to move for guys who get traded often or during the year. But honestly I don’t think about it. I don’t know how most guys handle it, but I don’t think about it.’’
Afflalo said he would be shocked if he wasn’t still in Orlando beyond Thursday’s deadline, adding: ``I would think so. Honestly, I haven’t given it any thought. But I would think so (that he’d still be in Orlando). That’s the plan in my eyes. If something is different, I’d have to move forward. But I plan on being here.’’
Afflalo said that even though the Magic are long shots for the playoffs there is still plenty to play for over the final 30 games of the season. Because he considers himself one of the cornerstones of the franchise, Afflalo said that it is important for the team to continue to grow and develop the young players over the next two months.
``I’m excited for the second half of the season,’’ Afflalo said. ``Without bringing up playoffs or championship aspirations it is still a great opportunity for you grow as an individual and for us to bond as a unit for whatever guys are here. We’re keeping in mind that this is a process that we can look forward to.’’
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