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Exclusive: J.J. Redick reacts to being traded by the Orlando Magic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the hours and days leading up to today’s NBA trade deadline, J.J. Redick attempted to prepare himself for a possible trade from the Orlando Magic.

He thought he was ready. He wasn’t. At least not completely.

“I think you can prepare yourself as much as you think you can,” Redick told the Orlando Sentinel in a phone interview after he received the news. “But when the moment comes, there’s certainly an initial shock, and I was shocked. The most difficult part was definitely saying bye to everybody, people that I’ve spent a lot of time with over the last seven years and built relationships with and built friendships with. That was difficult.

“There’s no really easy way to handle it,” he added later. “Trading is tough, tough. It’s my first time experiencing it: It’s tough.”

Redick and the Magic were still in Dallas when he caught wind of a possible deal around 2:30 p.m. Eastern, and he said he received a phone call from general manager Rob Hennigan “at about 2:59” to be told he was traded.

Redick didn’t accompany the team to Tennessee. He’s planning to arrive in Milwaukee on Friday morning.

The deal isn’t official yet.

But once it becomes official — and that’s a formality — the Magic will send Redick, point guard Ish Smith and power forward/center Gustavo Ayón to the Bucks for forward Tobias Harris, shooting guard Doron Lamb and veteran point guard Beno Udrih.

Redick, who is in the final year of his contract, said he hasn’t spoken with the Bucks yet about his long-term plans.

“I think with them bringing me in I assume they want to get into the playoffs, make a playoff run and try to get as high a seed as possible,” he said. “Hopefully, I can help them do that and we’ll deal with the summer when the summer happens.”

Redick, who will turn 29 in June, will become an unrestricted free agent in July because his current contract can’t be extended.

Hypothetically, he could sign with the Magic, but he doesn’t see that as a realistic possibility because the Magic are headed in a different direction.

“I think that door is probably closed, and that’s just my assumption,” he said. “I can’t imagine a scenario where that would be the case. Will our paths cross at some point in the future? Who knows? But in terms of this summer, I don’t see that happening.

“I have no hard feelings. None whatsoever. I just can’t remember that ever happening in the NBA [where someone was traded and then signed a few months later].”

Redick was the Magic’s most popular player this season.

He was drafted 11th overall in the 2006 draft and initially struggled to earn playing time — so much so that he once thought he might have to play in Europe to earn a living in pro basketball.

But he made progress during the 2008-09 season, especially the 2009 playoffs, and has become a bigger part of the team’s playing rotation ever since.

“I can’t overstate my level of gratitude for the Magic fans, for the Orlando community,” he said. “I get a little emotional thinking about it just now. But I truly believe it was the place where I became a man, an organization that was very good to me. I was just proud to have been a part of the ’09 team that made the Finals, proud to have been a part of six playoff teams. I’m grateful for the way the community embraced myself and [my wife] Chelsea. I can’t overstate my level of gratitude.”

Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at jbrobbins@tribune.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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