The perceived irrelevance of small-market NBA teams frustrates Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick.
Almost two months after the Magic traded superstar Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers following Howard’s request to be traded to a larger market, Redick and his Magic teammates face diminished expectations and a potentially protracted rebuilding period.
Redick has said he wants to make his permanent home in Orlando and that he “definitely” would be open to remaining with the Magic long-term after his contract expires at the end of this season.
Still, Redick sounds bothered by the belief that large-market teams like the Lakers, the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks have a competitive advantage over small-market teams like the Magic.
Asked if it’s difficult to begin a season not knowing what the Magic have on their roster, Redick responded, “I know what we have. We have a group of veteran players that have all played on winning teams. We may not have a superstar like Dwight Howard anymore, but we have enough guys that can play and enough young guys that will give us energy that we can be a competitive team and be better than people expect.
“But the frustrating thing is there’s like five teams that matter in this league. Right now it’s the Oklahoma City Thunder, but if you’re in a small market and you don’t matter, then that’s frustrating. You want to compete and you want to get your recognition and you want people to respect you. So in a sense, that’s frustrating.”
A reporter followed up by asking what can be done about the shift of stars moving from small and medium markets to big markets — a shift most recently exemplified by Howard’s trade to the Lakers and Chris Paul’s trade last year from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Guys are going to go where they’re going to go,” said Redick, who in 2010 signed a three-year, $19 million offer sheet from the Chicago Bulls that the Magic matched.
“We were a well-managed team for a number of years,” he added. “We were a well-coached team for a number of years. And we got lucky and had Dwight along the way, too. It’s cyclical. It’ll come back down. Look, I mean Boston and L.A. were relevant in the ’80s and they’re relevant today. There are certain teams that are always going to be relevant. A CBA is not going to change that.”
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.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun