The Magic are clearly rebuilding, but J.J. Redick isn't anxious to jump to a team that's closer to winning, and has expressed his desire to stay in Orlando for the long haul to GM Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn, reports John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. Redick is entering the final season of a three-year, $20.19MM contract, but is ineligible for an extension since his deal is for less than four years. That means any new pact between Redick and the Magic would have to wait until next summer.
"I love playing here and I love playing for Orlando. I love representing our fans and our city," the 28-year-old shooting guard said. "But I understand it’s a transition year for our organization. I’ve had conversations with Rob and we’re both on the same page with my future going forward. I’ve given him my commitment that as long as I’m in Orlando and wearing a Magic uniform that I’m going to be a pro and give everything like I always have. He knows that and respects that and we’ll be fine."
Redick is optimistic that the team will be better than most expect, but since the Magic figure to finish at or near the bottom of the standings this season, an overachievement may still leave them well short of the playoffs. The focus is clearly on the future in Orlando following the Dwight Howard trade that brought back draft picks and cap space, but it could be multiple years before the team returns to the postseason. Still, it seemed apparent Howard was on his way out of town when Jameer Nelson re-signed with the Magic for another three years this summer, so Redick isn't the only veteran willing to stick around.
The Magic may have other plans, as they're reportedly looking to trade some of their vets. Since Redick is ineligible for an extension, he'll spend the whole season on an expiring contract, which makes him an attractive trade chip. Even if he remains on the club for all of 2012/13, the Magic may be hesitant to tie up some of its cap space with him, unless he's willing to sign at a discount or come back on either a one- or two-year-deal.
There's a touch of irony that Redick wants to stay with the Magic now that they're expected to lose a lot of games, since he signed his existing contract as an offer sheet from the Bulls in 2010, one year after the Magic made the NBA Finals. The Magic matched the offer sheet that summer, and elected to retain him this offseason rather than waive him before the final year of his deal, worth $6.19MM, became guaranteed. Redick, whom the Magic drafted 11th overall in 2006, averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds with a 15.1 PER last season, all of which are career highs. He started 22 games, the first time he's started more than nine games in any season.