DALLAS — With 15 hours remaining before the NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. Thursday, J.J. Redick said he still had no idea whether or not the Orlando Magic would send him to another team.
And it also sounds like he wouldn’t be heartbroken if the Magic send him to a title contender.
Asked specifically if he wants to remain with the team through the end of the season, he sighed and said, "There’s just too many variables to say that. There’s just too many variables. The shortest way to answer that is I wouldn’t be disappointed if I end up going to a team that is playing for a championship if that were to happen. Look, if any player is in this situation and they’re on a team that’s one of the five or six teams in the league that have one of the worst records and they go to a contender, it’s not a bad thing.
“If I were to stay here, though, it’d be great.”
Would he consider re-signing long-term with the Magic, who are clearly in a rebuilding period and have now lost 26 of their last 29 games?
“I haven’t thought about the long-term, to be honest with you,” he said. “This whole season has been about trying to get better as a player and trying to put myself in a position for the deadline to be healthy and to be playing well, to be helping my team. And if I come back, I come back. If I get traded, I get traded. I’ll be the same guy. I’ll worry about the long-term after the season.”
He said he and the Magic have not discussed whether he wants to stay in Orlando after this season.
“There’s been no commitment either way from them or from me,” he said. “I think both sides are open to the idea. But, again, it’s out of my control. That’s a question more suited to them. They’ll have to make a decision in July.”
Magic officials are not commenting about their plans.
The uncertainty about Redick’s long-term future is one reason why the Magic might not want to keep him beyond the deadline. Why risk not getting assets in return for a player who could go elsewhere if he gets a better offer in free agency?
It’s also one reason why teams might not be willing to give away attractive assets for Redick.
Why would a prospective trade partner give away, say, a first-round pick or a young player with upside for someone who might be a three-month rental?
Redick took issue with a Yahoo! Sports report that said his agent, Arn Tellem, would seek to secure a $10 million annual salary when Redick becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
But Redick also acknowledged that for him, the 15-month-old collective bargaining agreement will make it difficult for him and others on the free-agent market.
The luxury tax penalties that soon will go into effect already are making teams skittish about devoting substantial salaries to non-superstars.
“It can hurt a guy like me,” Redick said. “Not just for me, but for free agents this summer, there’s a lot of teams with a lot of cap room. You think it every summer: ‘Teams aren’t going to spend, teams aren’t going to spend.’ But teams have to spend. It’s in the CBA: They have to spend.
“The issue is about what options you have. Can you go to a team that you think has got a chance to win a championship or are they not willing to go into the tax? Are they not willing to pay the repeater tax? Whatever it may be that a team is facing in their financial situation. I’m not speaking about myself; for any free agent, those options are cut off.
“The most valuable players right now are productive players on rookie contracts.”
For certain, Redick is eager for all the speculation to end.
For the last two days, friends have been sending him all kinds of rumors.
One joker even suggested that the Magic had reached a three-way deal that would send him to Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds to play second base and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco to the Magic in a sign-and-trade.
“It just comes with the territory, I guess,” Redick said. “But it’s for the birds, though.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.