Since being drafted by the Magic 11th overall in 2006, J.J. Redick had spent his entire career in Orlando, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2009. Now a member of the Bucks after last Thursday's trade, Redick spoke to Jeff Caplan of NBA.com about Orlando's post-Finals team, the Dwight Howard situation, and the deal that sent him to Milwaukee. Here are the highlights from Redick:
On how close the Magic were to becoming an Eastern Conference powerhouse after 2009:
"We were very close. I think the big decision was what to do with Hedo [Turkoglu]. We didn’t necessarily want to give him a five-year deal and he had options out there, two five-year deals in excess of $50 million with Portland and Toronto. He made his decision and it was a good decision for him. As a player you have to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of your small window to make a living.
"We made the trade for Vince [Carter] and for whatever reason we just couldn’t get over the top and beat the Celtics the next year. The following season we had a bunch of injuries and sicknesses early on and got off to a little bit of a slow start, and we made two separate blockbuster trades. And, to me, that was the turning point. We never really got back to elite status after that."
On when the Howard situation started to have an effect on the Magic:
"Dating back to a year and a half, two years ago is when things started to get a little hectic in Orlando. It definitely changed the makeup of the organization and the franchise. And obviously, when you have a player of Dwight’s caliber you’re in contention to win a championship. When you lose a player like that there’s a strong possibility you’re going to have to rebuild and it might get a little ugly."
On Howard having not committed to re-signing with the Lakers:
"I think he’s non-commital, I guess, for a reason. I’m not sure what that reason is, but if he wanted to explore his free agency he could have done it last summer. I’m not sure why he opted in [last year] because he wanted out of Orlando. I’m not really sure."
On having been sent to the Bucks after weeks of rumors and speculation:
"There’s definitely a feeling of relief. My feeling on just being traded in general is it’s part of the business. I’m a guy who just believes in making the best out of any situation. You can’t always change or control your circumstances, but you can change your perspective and your attitude. So no matter where I went, if I had stayed in Orlando, I would have made the most of it."