Denton: Redick Happy and Flattered

Denton: Redick Happy and FlatteredBy John Denton
July 16, 2010
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

ORLANDO – Having just returned from the beach and a ``hole-in-the-wall’’ taco shop in idyllic Barcelona, Spain with his new bride, J.J. Redick heard Friday that he was officially still a member of the Orlando Magic.

Just a week earlier, Redick had been at a luxury hotel in Florence, Italy overlooking the Arno River when he signed a three-year, $20 million contract proposal from the Chicago Bulls. Orlando ultimately decided to match that contract – Redick’s first choice all along – keeping him with the Magic.

It was then that Redick thought to himself just how good his life truly was. Weeks earlier, he had just married Chelsa Kilgore in a dazzling ceremony in Florida and as of Friday he was still on a dream honeymoon that took the couple from Positano to Capri to Rome to Florence and finally into Barcelona. And to make matters even better, not one – but two NBA teams – were willing to throw gobs of money his way.

Life, without question, was good for the Redicks.

``Honestly, I’m flattered. I’m flattered Chicago was willing to give me that much money in the first year and basically tell me that I was going to start. And I’m flattered that Orlando thought enough of me to bring me back,’’ Redick said. ``I have had a lot of critics and doubters through the years, but last season I was very consistent and what I have done is earn what I’ve gotten through a lot of hard work.

``I’m satisfied, but I’m not anywhere near content,’’ Redick said. ``I think I’m entering my prime of my career and I have a lot left to improve upon from an individual standpoint. And from a team standpoint, we can win a championship and that’s what drives me.’’

Redick, 26, will chase that championship in Orlando, the franchise that drafted him in 2006, resisted trading him when he career started slowly and gave him a platform to blossom as a shooting guard in 2009-10. Redick notched career highs in points (9.6), assists (1.9) and minutes (22) this past season while playing key minutes in the regular season and playoffs.

Because Redick was a restricted free agent, the Magic had the right to match a deal that was purposely frontloaded by the Bulls in an attempt to swipe Redick away from Orlando.

But the Magic’s ownership and GM Otis Smith weren’t about to lose Redick and they had no qualms about paying Redick $20 million even though it will send Orlando further into the luxury tax. Redick will make approximately $7.5 million next season -- more than twice the $3 million he earned in 2009-10 -- $6.5 million in 2011-12 and $6 million in 2012-13.

``I talked to Chelsea before the wedding about the whole free agency thing and the one thing that we talked about was that I wanted to be with a team that was going to win,’’ he said. ``When it came down to Orlando and Chicago, I knew either way that I was going to be in a good situation. Winning is the most important thing to me and I knew either way that I was going to win.

``I’m happy going back to Orlando,’’ Redick continued. ``I think we’ve built a great thing with the Magic. Otis has done a great job, Stan (Van Gundy) can obviously coach his (butt) off and I’m excited about next year.’’

Redick got word from agent Arn Tellem and via text message from Van Gundy on Wednesday that the Magic had planned to match the contract, taking some of the stress out of the former Duke star’s life.

An admitted ``planner,’’ Redick openly stresses that he needs structure and routine in his life to thrive. For days, he had been worrying about where he’d work out in the summer and how his new family would go about moving to Chicago had the Magic not decided to match the contract.

But from the sound of things, Redick’s worries were totally unnecessary.

Said Redick: ``That was kind of a stressful thing for me. … I had a good feeling they were going to match. And I talked to Stan and he indicated to me that it was a pretty easy decision for those guys to make.’’

Redick had purposely stayed away from his phone during his honeymoon, talking only with Tellem during the negotiations with Chicago and getting updates from the Magic. But his first text message in weeks -- to Magic assistant coach Bob Beyer – gave a peek into his hunger to get back to work.

``When we got back from the beach I had the news (of his return to the Magic) on my phone and the first text message that I sent out was to Bob Beyer, the coach who works me out,’’ Redick said. ``I told him, ``See you on Monday. Let’s go to work.’ That’s my attitude, no matter where I was going to be. My goal is to win a championship and I believe we can do that in Orlando regardless of what Miami or Boston has done. We have a chance to do that and I’m getting back to work on Monday.’’

Other messages from Magic teammates Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter has Redick itching to get back in the gym to work on his game for next season. Even a world away, he’s heard about the Heat’s additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and Chicago adding Carlos Boozer. Now, he said he and the Magic are ready to prove to the rest of the basketball world that they are still one of the teams to beat.

``When I started thinking about what that Celtics series meant to us as a team and how it played out, it really bothered me. I’m excited to get back to work,’’ he said. ``Rashard and Jameer have been sending out messages and lot of the guys on the team have been talking about working. Miami and Chicago have gotten better and made significant chances and we’ve added Chris Duhon (and Quentin Richardson). So what it comes down to now is the guys already on our team have to get better. We have to grow as a group again.’’

John Denton writes for Orlandomagic.com. His Magic ``Behind the Scenes’’ segment can be heard each week on ESPN 1080 AM. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com.