Denton: It Was Hectic Summer For Redick
By John Denton
January 27, 2011
CHICAGO – Ever the meticulous planner – almost to obsessive-compulsive levels at times – J.J. Redick’s mind was racing this past July when he signed a contract offer sheet with Chicago Bulls and contemplated having to move from Orlando to the Windy City.
At the time, Redick was thousands of miles away in Italy on his honeymoon to new bride, Chelsea, but he couldn’t stop thinking about how a potential switch from the Magic to the Bulls would upset the structure in his life.
``My main thing was, OK what church am I going to go to? Where am I going to work out? Are we going to sell my house? Or are we going to keep it and rent it?’’ Redick said, recalling his fretting.
Fortunately for Redick, he didn’t have to sweat for too long as Orlando made the decision to match the heavily front-loaded three-year, $21 million contract to keep him in Magic pinstripes. Back in snowy Chicago on Thursday for the first time since nearly becoming a Bull, Redick was reminded of how his whole world almost changed this summer.
Redick, whose Magic (30-16) face the Bulls (31-14) Friday night in Chicago, was reminded recently of how stressful moving to another franchise and another city could have been.
``You realize the NBA is a business, but it is personal, too,’’ Redick said. ```I was walking in my neighborhood the other day and I saw moving vans outside of Rashard Lewis’ house. It actually got to me a little bit because it puts so much stress on the families.’’
From the sound of things, Redick doesn’t have to worry about leaving Orlando anytime soon based on how valuable President of Basketball of Operations/GM Otis Smith considers him. Smith said there was actually very little to contemplate last summer when it came to retaining Redick because of the improvement, toughness and stellar shooting that the fifth-year guard has displayed.
``It was difficult to envision losing him because he’s a part of what we do here and we like the pro that he has become,’’ Smith said. ``He’s worked himself into a good player. And from our standpoint, it was about keeping us whole. We’re a big inside-outside team and he’s one of those guys who helps us with that. At that time, we didn’t have that much ball-handling and he was one of our better ballhandlers. So keeping him wasn’t that difficult.’’
Redick has more than lived up to his contract, averaging a career-best 10.3 points per game while also registering career highs in field goal shooting percentage (45.1) and 3-point shooting percentage (41.5). He ranks eighth in the league in free throw percentage (89.5), 23rd in 3-point percentage (41.5) and 36th in 3-pointers made (66).
But it wasn’t always so rosy for Redick, who put pressure on himself early in the season to justify his contract and opened the year in a nasty slump. He made three of his first 25 shots from beyond the 3-point stripe in the first 10 games of the season. And during one particularly unsightly six-game stretch, Redick missed 15 straight tries and didn’t hit a 3-pointer.
But he dug his way out of the slump by continuing to work. Redick is usually one of the last Magic players to leave the floor after practice and one of the earliest to arrive before games, getting up dozens of extra shots from the stripe. He’s since hit at least three 3-pointers in 11 games this season. He’s nailed at least four on four occasions and had games with five and six 3-pointers.
``I think I got it up to 45 percent from three at one point and there was a two-for-17 stretch right before that Oklahoma City roadtrip,’’ Redick said. ``When your percentage is at 45 percent, you don’t feel (a slump) as much. But when you start the season three for 25 and you see that you’re 12 percent from 3-point range, you think, `Hey, maybe this guy should stop shooting.’’’
Redick certainly hasn’t stopped shooting, but he has stopped thinking about what would have happened if he were living in Chicago instead of Orlando these days. Redick was in Chicago in early July for the Lollapalooza 2010 concert, but said his mind is at peace that he didn’t have to switch teams or switch cities. But he did want to thank first-year Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau for pushing for the Bulls to sign him and possibly make him a starter, saying: ``I’ve got to give a lot of props to Thibadeau. At least one guy in the league likes me.
``I haven’t thought about it since we got here,’’ Redick said of Chicago thoughts. ``I thought about it when I came for Lalapalooza back in the summer. You realize that Chicago is a pretty cool place in the summer, but this time of year, I’ll take the Orlando weather.’’