Ryan Anderson, J.J. Redick discuss Orlando departure

Ryan Anderson joined The Vertical Podcast with J.J. Redick to discuss his exit from the Orlando Magic, the city and rap supergroups we all wanted to happen.

During the Orlando Magic’s championship window, there may not have been two more popular and adored players on the roster than J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson.

There were actually a lot of popular players on that team. Dwight Howard was the superstar, Jameer Nelson was the workhorse starter. Redick and Anderson were the role players who did not seem to fit on a basketball court, and yet found a way to make an impact.

All while under the demanding gaze of Stan Van Gundy. If these guys did not learn how to play defense in addition to their 3-point shooting, they were not going to play.

Quickly after the Magic acquired Anderson from the New Jersey Nets in a still somewhat controversial move, he established himself as a key cog — a perfect fit in Van Gundy’s spread offense.

A year before Van Gundy arrived, Redick had asked Otis Smith for a trade out of Orlando. But he worked hard and became one of the players Van Gundy could trust the most. Redick often credits Van Gundy’s coaching for helping him stick in the league.

And then there was the duo of Anderson and Redick. They were odd balls themselves, with a dry sense of humor and just a genial demeanor with the media and fans. It was hard not to root for these guys — even after they left Orlando.

So Magic fans will enjoy this walk down memory lane — including what really happened with the legendary rap group “James Clay” aka “Waste Management” (transportation provided by Marcin Gortat, although that is not mentioned here).

On this week’s episode of The Vertical Podcast with J.J. Redick, Redick spoke with Ryan Anderson about his past season in New Orleans and his upcoming free agency. They also took the time to reminisce about their time in Orlando, including discussing their exit from a city they both enjoyed playing in.

The podcast also touches on the tragedy that struck Anderson’s life and then Anderson’s coach, Monty Williams:

They give a really good look into what made the Van Gundy Magic teams so successful. It was about everyone having a role, preparing and doing their job. And doing it at a high level.

When it came time for the rebuild, there were certainly mixed feeling.

Redick said he wanted to stay in Orlando as long as Van Gundy was in Orlando. Before the Magic ultimately traded Redick at the deadline in 2013 (having fired Van Gundy the year before and beginning a rebuild), Redick said he was open to returning to Orlando even though the team was still working its way up from the bottom.

There is a lot of appreciation for Van Gundy.

Anderson too spoke about his restricted free agency too. The Magic executed a sign and trade with the New Orleans Hornets in the summer of 2012 to acquired Gustavo Ayon and a second round pick to give the Hornets room to sign Anderson to the four-year, $32 million deal that is just set to expire.

Anderson said he was under the assumption the Magic would match any contract, even with new management. The exit though came because the Magic were simply looking to tear things down and start over, unwilling to make many long-term commitments.

“My vision was I was going to be in Orlando for a while. When you have that impression and that’s the team if any team offers you, you are going to be with that team for a while.

“Essentially they got a new GM, they had a different direction. It’s hard to kind of, everything changed. Management changed. Players changed. You and Jameer were the only ones left. It was you and Jameer and everyone else kind of separated and went their own way. It was upsetting.

“It is hard to complain to be playing basketball regardless of what city you are going in. But when you have the impression you are going to be somewhere for a while, it throws you a little bit.”

Anderson has gone on to have a couple of career years and continue to grow his game. Injuries have slowed Anderson down, including a horrific back injury. And there was the personal tragedy that had to play a role.

Magic fans still lament letting him walk in the fashion they did.

With Anderson though, he is always incredibly optimistic. It is hard not to like the guy. And that personality really shows through in his conversation with his friend in J.J. Redick.

The hour-long podcast is well worth the listen. At least for the story about the rap supergroup that wasn’t at a minimum.

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