Denton: Redick Receives Standing Ovation From Amway Center Crowd

By John Denton
April 10, 2013

ORLANDO – After a night in which the Orlando Magic and their fans thanked J.J. Redick for 6 ½ memorable seasons with a touching video tribute and a standing ovation, the sweet-shooting guard returned the favor with several thanks of his own.

Overcome with emotion early in the Magic’s 113-103 overtime defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks when the Magic surprised him with a video montage of some of his key NBA moments, Redick admitted that he was touched by the class shown by the only NBA team he had ever played for prior to the Feb. 21 trade to Milwaukee.

``I didn’t think there would be any sort of video tribute. That was very surprising to me, very humbling actually,’’ Redick said as he attempted to hold back his emotions once again. ``I was trying so hard not to get emotional that I didn’t really watch the video. (Director of Arena and Event Presentations) Shelly Driggers was nice enough to give my wife a couple of copies (of the video tribute) and I will watch it in depth later.

``Just a classy, classy gesture on the part of the Magic, and something that I will remember the rest of my life for sure,’’ Redick continued. ``I’m just very appreciative of the gesture. It was awesome.’’

Redick, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was traded by the Magic to Milwaukee on Feb. 21 along with Ish Smith and Gustavo Ayon for Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb. Harris, Udrih and Lamb got their revenge on Wednesday night when Harris tied the game up with a 3-pointer late in regulation and the Magic won 113-103 in OT.

Redick returned to the Amway Center Wednesday for the first time since the trade. As he predicted before the game, he got emotional when the Magic showed a video tribute highlighting Redick’s time in Orlando. The crowd gave Redick a standing ovation during the tribute, and he acknowledged the crowd with a wave. The Amway Center video board also captured wife, Chelsea, wiping away tears during the tribute.

Redick, who received another ovation when he checked into the game with 5:47 left in the first quarter, finished with 16 points in 42 minutes for the Bucks. He made just six of 16 shots and one of seven 3-pointers.

``(The standing ovation) was the hard part for me in terms of getting emotional as the video was playing and I’m looking around the arena and seeing these familiar faces of people who have been long-time season-ticketholders even before I was here,’’ Redick said. ``They were here when I came in as a 22-year-old and they watched me grow as a player and a person. There were a lot of people who had impacts on me. This has been home for a long time. Thank you to the fans. That was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of the reception and I’m humbled by it and grateful for it.’’

Orlando traded Redick away even though the shooting guard was in the midst of his finest professional season. With no guarantee that they would be able to sign Redick, who could command a five-year-deal worth $40 million, the Magic executed the deal so that they could acquire a dynamic young scorer in Harris, a solid veteran guard in Udrih and a promising piece in Lamb. Harris had 30 points and 19 rebounds on Wednesday, while Udrih contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds. Lamb, who had four made 3-pointers in a Magic uniform before Wednesday, hit four more against the Bucks and scored 16 points off the bench.

The Magic are also hoping to retain as much as salary cap space as possible for the summer of 2014 when they can potentially add two top-level free agents.
Redick said that while making the adjustment from the warm sunshine of Central Florida to the frigid conditions of Wisconsin has been an adjustment, it doesn’t compare to the difficulties he’s had blending in with the Bucks. A part-time starter in Orlando and an integral part of the offense, Redick has been used only off the bench in Milwaukee and he’s had to find shots in an offense already dominated by Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.

``The living situation has been fine. (Wife) Chelsea decided to come up and has been living there pretty much the whole time. Milwaukee has been a very enjoyable city. We’ve been to a Brewers game, we’ve been to a couple of concerts. There is a lot going on and it’s a good city,’’ Redick said. ``In terms of the basketball side of it, that’s been the toughest adjustment. I think for most players who get traded midseason, that is the toughest adjustment.

``You gain a level of comfort, familiarity and trust with certain players and you have training camp together. You bond and you get to know the coaches,’’ Redick continued. ``But it just seems like the last six weeks (in Milwaukee) have been pretty hectic. There’s been lots going on on and off the court. And then you still have to go out there and perform.’’

Redick was told that several of the Magic’s young players complimented his work ethic and professionalism while in Orlando, saying that he left a lasting impression with the team long after he was gone. Redick blushed and fought back emotions, saying that he hopes the way he approached his job will be his legacy in Orlando.

``I’m not a superstar, obviously, and that won’t be my legacy for my time here in Orlando,’’ Redick said. ``But I would like to think my legacy is someone played hard all of the time, worked hard and was a true professional and a leader. So for them to say that definitely means a lot to me.’’

Redick could be on the move again this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NBA career. He signed an offer sheet with the Chicago Bulls three years earlier only to have it matched by the Magic when he was a restricted free agent. Redick, who is having an offseason house built in Austin, Texas, said he will have to weigh a variety of factors this offseason, including money, quality of the team and where he wants to live.

``I don’t assume anything in this league. I don’t take anything for granted. I just hope I get an offer,’’ Redick said. ``Maybe there will be one offer, maybe there will be four. You weigh everything and figure out what is the most important. If the money is so different, you go with the money and you secure your family’s financial future. But there are other factors at play for sure. But I’ll weigh everything.’’

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