Magic trade Redick as part of rebuilding

Pending free agent, J.J. judged too costly to stay

Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan discusses J.J. Redick trade and more.

The tremor felt in Orlando was another aftershock of the Dwightmare.

The rumbling was jarring enough to send J.J. Redick all the way to Milwaukee, where temperatures Friday are expected to be at freezing, with a low of 18.

That's cold, folks. But Magic fans must be feeling even chillier here after the team traded the popular J.J. to the Bucks on Thursday, in order to save some bucks.

Rebuilding an NBA team after the loss of a superstar not only can take a while, it can claim casualties, such as your favorite players who are looking for raises.

The trade of Dwight Howard has forced the Magic to clear as much money as possible, including the amount they would have had to pay Redick as a free agent this summer.

Howard's seismic exit also collected Ryan Anderson, a young talent whom the Magic also let go rather than pay market price.

This time, it's good-bye, J.J.

There hasn't been much to cheer during this forgettable season, but Redick offered a delightful diversion.

Magic faithful took it personally.

"I always thought that the Magic said they would not trade someone who wanted to be there and someone with high character," said a fan in a typical e-mail to me. "J.J. Redick was that and more, yet money was more important. The Magic just lost a fan."

Redick wasn't an all-star, but jettisoning a very good player could haunt them and turn off customers. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan better score big in bringing in new and improved players.

Fans who have watched J.J. grow from a struggling rookie to a respected shooting guard will miss his picturesque jump-shot, clever passes, charitable work, GQ haircuts and Duke-smart quips.

Hope the Bucks let J.J. take his hair-dryer on the team plane like the Magic did, although it might be an appliance to be named later.

"I can't overstate my level of gratitude for the Magic fans, for the Orlando community," Redick 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."

Like in the Anderson trade to New Orleans, the Magic didn't get back much for J.J., Goose Ayon and Ish Smith. No one was giving up a suitable first-round pick just to rent Redick, but Hennigan likes young Bucks Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.

Redick said that he was still stunned despite recent rumors, but has "no hard feelings" toward the team.

He wanted to stay in Orlando, and the team wanted to keep him. Their timing was off. After Howard forced his way out, everything changed, the present giving way to the future.

Business intervened. Emotion was put aside.

If Dwight was still with the Magic, Redick likely would have ridden his XL coattails to a new contract.

But the Magic, post-Dwight, decided that paying $7 million to $9 million per year for a back-up shooting guard behind starter Arron Afflalo made no sense in a more financially restrictive NBA and sought compensation. Afflalo will average about $7.7 million the next three years.

"It was definitely a factor," Hennigan said.

As if fans need reminding, Afflalo arrived in the Dwight deal, sealing J.J's fate.

The Magic have now lost Howard, a superstar; Anderson, last season's most-improved player; and Redick, one of the best sixth men in the NBA.

The pressure is squarely on management. Hennigan will need lottery luck, draft ingenuity and free-agent finds over the next few years just to match that missing talent.

Actually, the timing isn't all bad for J.J. At 28, he might score what will be his last big contract. He also escaped the Magic's misery to join a playoff chase.

Hennigan said the hopes fans "believe in what we're doing." He added that trading Redick was "not easy" and understands "the emotional shockwave" for J.J. loyalists.

Another shockwave reverberating from a Dwightmare.

bschmitz@tribune.com.

 
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