J.J. Redick shouldn't have to look at the Orlando Magic management team and plea, "call me, maybe."
Ryan Totka -- he of http://www.StayDwight.com fame -- shouldn't be burdened with setting up a website groveling for J.J. to stick around.
Season-ticket holders don't need to storm the Amway Center for a J.J. Redick pep rally.
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This is a simple deal, and a critical one for the home team:
Re-sign J.J. Redick. He's a keeper.
I get the fact that he's not a franchise player. And that the Magic are going to have to make a tough call on investing around $16 million a year in two shooting guards, since Arron Afflalo has three more years in his current deal at an estimated $7.5 million. And that the Magic are trying to collect as many young'ns as possible in hopes of climbing out of the rebuilding mode.
But here's the flip side:
The Magic can only go so far with this "please be patient we are remodeling" thing. It's unreasonable to keep asking fans to be patient while putting an inferior product on the floor at non-discount prices. So you need a more tangible marketing asset than "just wait a while."
Redick is it, by a long shot.
He has become the face of the franchise full of unrecognizable faces. Jameer Nelson seemed to be that guy for awhile after Dwight Howard left town, but Nelson is now in his ninth season with the same defensive limitations and remains pretty much a 12-to-15 points-a-night kind of guy.
Redick is improving, and measurably. Redick's numbers, from minutes to scoring, have improved every season from 2007-08. He is averaging a career-high 15 points a game and recently moved into a starting role.
Yes, he's a marketable asset. By he's a bigger asset to a team that needs some sort of an identity moving forward. Until reinforcements arrive, J.J. is it.
And we're not just talking basketball here.
J.J. is the most popular player on the team now. He is most engaged when it comes to community involvement. Last March, Redick and Howard were named the co-winners of the annual Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award. They received $50,000 each to donate to the charity or charities of their choice.
Redick paid it forward by donating $25,000 to the Russell Home for Atypical Children, a facility that serves brain-damaged children and adults, and another $25,000 to a nonprofit called Loaves and Fishes that helps people in need with food and other essentials. He recently donated another $25,000 — out of his own pocket — to a Florida chapter of the Alzheimer's Association honoring the grandmother of J.J.'s wife, Chelesa, who is suffering from the disease.
I became a bigger Redick fan that day because my mom died of that insidious disease in 2009. And that's the point: He's got bunches of people cheering for him in this community because he's truly engaged and not just posing for a photo-op with an oversized check. He's got bunches of people cheering for him in the Amway Center every night because he's one heck of a basketball player. He's got bunches of people cheering for him because he's a solid guy who will never embarrass this franchise.
He's due for a nice raise beyond the $6 million on his current expiring contract. Will the Magic up the ante and lock in him for a few more seasons at about $8 mil per year? Deal him before the Feb. 21 trade deadline?
General manager Rob Hennigan is a numbers-crunching guy and doesn't get terribly caught up in emotions. He's got two good shooting guards and a handful of holes in the lineup otherwise. But he should realize that a lot of Magic fans have a financial and emotional investment in this team.
And they love them some J.J.
So call him.
Don't even think maybe.