The NBA's trade season officially opened on December 15 with all the contracts signed this summer opened for trading (there are still several contracts signed using Bird Rights that do not become available for trades until January 15).
The rumor mill is beginning to churn again. And Orlando will be involved. Rob Hennigan has made as much clear and the team has that extremely useful trade exception to help facilitate deals too. The Magic are working too hard to clear the decks and begin building fromt he ground up in a certain fashion not to consider dealing Redick.
The thing is Redick is playing extremely well. The expanded responsibility and his new role in the offense have led Redick to post a career year. He is averaging a career-high 14.2 points per game and 5.7 assists per game. He is shooting a career-best 44.7 percent from the floor. He has a PER of 15.8 (also a career high) and is posting a career-best 26.0 percent assist rate. All this even with a dramatic increase in usage rate.
Redick has become incredibly important to everything the Magic do both as a shooter and as a playmaker.
"He has grown as a player," Jacque Vaughn said following Orlando's win over Minnesota on Friday. "We had over 30 assists tonight as a team and he’s done a great job of being able to create shots for himself and for his teammates. Down the stretch, we called his number and whether or not he shoots it, it’s up to him. But he’s been able to create for his teammates and his teammates are redy to receive the basketball and he’s improved as a basketball player."
The numbers obviously support the fact Redick has developed into a very strong player. And with his new role within this offense — he is on the move a lot more and has the ball in his hands more than he did with Stan Van Gundy as the coach (or Brian Hill, who just did not play Redick) — the Magic brass are learning who he is as a player.
That is what Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld suggested in his post a few days ago previewing the potential players that could be available at the deadline. Kyler said it seemed pretty certain that the Magic would shop and move Redick before the trade deadline. However, now that the new management has been able to see Redick work and play from the inside, the asking price may be creeping up and Orlando may see Redick as part of the team's long-term future.
Fans certainly feel that way as Redick is probably the most popular player on the team. If there are other considerations that might go into the decision to trade Redick besides dollars and cents and on-court performance, this might be something Rob Hennigan and his crew will ahve to consider.
The thing is though, Redick has deserved this praise.
When he was drafted, nobody quite knew what to make of him. He was an elite college scorer but nobody was sure he could fit into an NBA roster. Brian Hill buried him on the bench and he received inconsistent playing time under Stan Van Gundy until he was pressed into duty to chase Ray Allen around in the 2009 Playoffs.
From there, Redick has worked himself into a completely new player — a team player who always knew the right position and where to be within the team's schemes. It is this rise and this selflessness that has captured Magic fans and has made him so popular.
"I just try to make the right play, try to help my teammates," Redick stated his role simply Monday. "Obviously I can shoot the ball a fair amount. If the shot is there, I’ll take it. If not, I can help our team get other guys looks."
It is also this work ethic — that has not stopped as Redick is constantly adding new dimensions to his game — that likely fits what the Magic are trying to build.
Business though is business and Redick realizes that as much as anyone. He told the David Baumann Show earlier this week that he spoke with Hennigan before the season began and was told he would not be "blindsided" by a trade. His hope though is to remain in Orlando — something that might be out of his control.
Rob (Hennigan) and I talked back in August and Rob knows my agent (Arn Tellum) fairly well so I don’t think I’ll be blindsided by any trade. The trade story that came out the other day that was on HOOPSHYPE was more of a non-story than anything else, so I wasn’t too frazzled by that or anything. Chelsea (J.J.’s wife) and I have obviously had a lot of discussions over the past few months and we would love to be in Orlando.
I don’t know what’s going to happen at the trade deadline. The Magic have to do what’s best for the organization and if I am here post-deadline and I finish the season here, they have to make the decision about what’s best for the future of the franchise, but I’d like to be a part of that. I think that I fit in with the culture and what they’re trying to build. I’m about winning and about improving and getting better every day and as they move forward toward the future I think I’ll be a great fit here.
That is the question facing Orlando: Whether Redick fits the team's long-term future.
The organization has to answer this question fairly quickly as Redick is sure to be a hot commodity once the trade season heats up. If he continues to play as well as he is playing, he may price himself out of the Magic's budget this summer too.
It is a tricky balance for sure.
Ultimately, the Magic are at the whims of the market. If an offer comes across the desk that helps the organization and involves dealing Redick, the team will pursue it. If nothing does, then Redick stays to the end of the season and Redick sees what he can get in free agency.