Magic Give J-Rich A Curious Deal

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Magic general manager Otis Smith acknowledged Saturday afternoon that Dwight Howard has asked to be traded. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Howard has specifically asked to be traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he would team up with point guard Deron Williams.

Smith now faces the unenviable task of finding the best package he can for Howard, knowing that he’d lose him for nothing if a deal isn’t done by the trade deadline, and knowing that he’s really only got two teams to work with: the Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Other teams would be wary of giving the Magic any strong assets, knowing that Howard’s heart is elsewhere and he can leave next summer.

Smith has tried his best to build a title contender around Howard, and the Magic did get to the Finals in 2009. They were even a very strong team last season. But the moves that Smith has made over the years have driven the Magic to a point where they have neither the financial flexibility nor the assets to bring in another star.

So it was a little strange to hear that the Magic have agreed to terms with guard Jason Richardson (their own free agent) on a four-year deal worth $25 million.

Now, $6.25 million a year isn’t that unreasonable for Richardson. It’s almost a 60 percent pay cut from what he made last season. And this is a guy who shot 40 percent from 3-point range over the last four years.

But Richardson is on the wrong side of 30, with his production bound to decline each year of that contract.

More important, if Smith is in the process of evaluating trades for his franchise player and possibly facing a rebuilding process in the wake of a deal, then why is he committing to a contract that won’t expire until Richardson is 34 years old and will be difficult to move in a trade for at least the next two seasons? Wouldn’t he want to remain relatively flexible instead of going deeper into luxury tax territory?

Smith has made a lot of curious transactions over the years. Add this one to the list.


  1. Kobe Bryant says:

    Hey dwight you know i would love to have you come join me in LA.
    We would be unstoppable and the lights of LA have never seen 2 greats like us perform on the same team together.
    James and Wade wouldnt be able to dream up stuff we would accomplish together.
    Superman+blackmamba >lechoke+dwade

  2. Marcus says:

    I guess Otis still hopes in a positive season for his team, and since he has no salary cap space nor valuable trade pieces, he had to give a good contract to a guy who has his best day gone; without doing so, the Magic would simply be 6 million less over the salary cup and with their best perimetral offensive player gone for nothing. I’m sure J-Rich knew it and took advantage of it.

  3. Papa B says:

    The NBA is becoming lame…the players think they are bigger than the game and the worse part is the commissioner and owners are playing along. The NBA wants to be like the NFL but that is never going to happen as football is a true team sport and also is a mental sport lead by great-mined coaches. NBA is too flashy and relies too much on raw athleticism and unfortunately led by caddy-like coaches. Basketball is a great convenient sport but this era can really put a permanent scar on the game.

  4. john says:

    lets go im a boston fan and i say ray ray garnett and oneal for j rich and howard it will give orlando a better chance at winning the champion ship with to actual champions and vetren oneal thats what should go down

  5. E K K K says:

    I’m with Imad, Iceman, and Jimmy as a huge TMAC fan i feel if he is healthy, even at his age would be better than 70% of SGs in the league. As for JRich, i think he is worth his contract but i wouldnt make any moves until D12 issues are solved. Either bringing in CP3 or trading him.

  6. Ahmad says:

    Dwight Howard and Turk or J.Rich for either noah/gibson or noah/deng or damn all 3 it doesnt matter hopefully it could be noah,/deng and draft picks so gibson could stay on the best bench in basketball. The bulls won 62 games last year but a player like this doesnt come along very ofter……….

  7. Aaron says:

    I think trhis is a sign and trade deal about to happen, maybe?

  8. iceman says:

    @ Mike. I think the Tyson Chandler deal has to be the one that makes the least amount of sense. I don’t disagree that the Knicks needed him, but 58mil?!?…..mark my words, this guy has Erick Dampier written all over him from this point on. (contract year, plays his butt off, gets huge payday, done.) there’s nothing he can do outside of average 13pts, 15rebs, and 3 blocks over the life of that deal to justify it. I think whatever deal Nene gets will rank up there too with the most insane deals given out. Nene is decent, but he’s undersized for a center at 6″10, and only gives you 15/7/1 at best. Word has it the Nets are looking to give him 4yrs/80mil if they can’t land Howard. The whole point of the lockout was to right the ship, and stop the blood loss of teams that gave out these types of deal to start with. Seems the owners haven’t learned anything.

  9. NBA Guru says:

    I think this signing is a sure sign Dwight is leaving. My guess is that he is going to be an essential trade piece if Dwight goes to the Lakers this gives the Magic an oppurtunity to get even more. Who knows? Maybe Jameer will end up with Dwight in LA. And who is to say Deron will resign if Dwight goes to the Nets? No one can answer these questions yet and thats how it should stay.

  10. js says:

    this isnt a question of whether or not he overpaid him. I agree with everyone else that all things considered a little over 6 mill a year isnt bad. its a matter of what is otis smith’s plan exactly. Signing J-rich wouldve been a nice deal for a contending team that needs some extra scoring, like the celtics or even bulls. its a matter of a team that is going to lose their franchise player, and for all intensive purposes is not going to be in the mix for a championship for at least a couple seasons. who knows if richardson’s contract could prevent them from acquiring a younger piece they could build with later on down the road. that uncertainty is why this is kind of puzzling. for a future rebuilding team, would you rather have Jason richardson or the extra cap space? most gms would say option 2

  11. miami2012champs says:

    I bet you otis smith is dum enough to trade dwight howard to lakers for derek fisher!

  12. paolo says:

    i am an italian’s fan of the magic……i am very angry…..if howard leave the magic i leave the basket nba!

  13. Joshua says:

    Hmmm. If miami were smart, they should just trade D-wade or Lebron for Howard. and sign billups. A front court like Lebron, Bosh and Howard is kinda fierce eh..

    • Not Bad for Both Teams says:

      If I were Miami I would ship Lebron for Howard. D Wade is the leader of the Heat.
      Trade Lebron for Howard while he is still available Miami.
      In NO WAY am I a Heat fan, but seems to be what the Heat need.
      Plus what other team has the goods to offer for Dwight Howard.
      Bulls > Boozer, Draft Picks, Cash ?? Lakers > Bynum, Gasol, Draft Picks??
      I just dont see the equal to trading Dwight Howard with NJ, CHI, LAL.

  14. Dave says:

    All I know is the Toronto Raptors will probably not be able to compete again. How are they going to compete with NYK, NJN, BOS, and Philly plain and simply has a better future because you can win there. I always thought the Raptors never had a fair chance at anything. I would think eventually and maybe not even eventually because it could happen sooner than we all think; the Toronto Raptors will be moved. Unless they win, they are not interesting to anyone outside of Toronto maybe even Canada. This is not hockey and they will not survive unless they do something drastically in the next five years. They are 16 years old now but after 21 years I would think that even if they make a playoff appearance once more it’s not good enough. Let’s just say that making only 6 times in 20 years IS NOT good enough. How are they going to do anything with EVERY team seemingly better than their roster? I just don’t get it. I really don’t get it and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has major concerns about this team. With that being said I’m sure the league realizes the danger that they are in. Rogers bought them out and now same company owns the raptors leafs and jays. There’s no lack of funding to say the least but it might not even matter who knows. It’s true though you go on and you can’t see anything about the raptors anywhere. Seriously how are they going to win enough games to even make the playoffs again. Unfortunately for them a lot of times you have to win 42 games in order to get the 8th seed in the NBA. I just cant the raptors winning 42 games again ever they will be moved. Im not sure how 06-07 happened for them but other then that they struggled to win 40 games. They will never have another VC either. Who knows the NBA might have plans of where to move the team in the event that they can’t win again. Like i said this is not hockey and if they continue to lose they are gone. Keep basketball in Toronto please and lets make people take notice to Toronto, I can’t wait for it to happen. The Toronto Raptors that name should be ringing in peoples ears. Less you forget.

  15. Phil says:

    If this message is seen then I think it’s was a good choice either way. Jason is a good starting 2 guard in this league so I think it was a good decision. I have know problems with Otis he has done his job to the fullest for the last 7 years. Dwight is the common denominator in this situation. If it was some sort of loyalty in the league we would truly have a great team for year to common but I guess it’s just business nowadays. If I had a connection to a player and he is still considered a player in this league I would resign him also at a discount price. That’s called loyalty and unselfishness.

  16. bob says:

    well, it does make sense IF it’s gonna be a trade with chicago involved. It is straightforward to trade boozer/noah for howard/richardson (or noah, deng -and boozer???- plus some picks) for howard richardson and/or turkoglu. It’s a trade in which everyone gets what he wants and needs!

    i ‘m a bobcats fan (don’t make fun on me :P) but i ‘d like howard to chicago… i think that this could be a GREAT team, with really good players in every position and bench depth. Plus, it could be adidas team!!! (just kidding).

    Other than that (a trade), signing richardson for so many years with that money, is an almost stupid movement from orlando, because if howard leaves, and richardson stays, then the team will be full of old, big-contract players, with no flexibility and trade value at all, and as a result, building mode will be far far in the future

  17. hey says:

    quit signing players from yesteryear.

  18. hey says:

    raptors, enough said. end of story.


    ya dwight to lakers makes more sense because they got more to offer in pau and bynum plus draft picks. the nets offer only lopez and who else. so dwight to lakers

  20. Rip Greenfire says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea? Listen, I know he’s old, but Arenas is gone so who will play SG, JJ Reddik? Don’t get me wrong, JJ is good, but not that much. Let J-Rich go and try to find another free agent? Like who? Jamall Crawford? He wouldn’t work well with the Magic. J-Rich is signed cause it’s the best the Magic got.

    PS: Please don’t leave Dwight. I understand if you do but it’s still so saddening.

  21. magicfan1182 says:

    dwight ask for gilbert and turk so do not put it on otis learn before you say something

  22. matt A. says:

    why would the magic want to trade with the Nets i can understand the Lakers. what does the Nets got to offer orlando for Howard? think about it

    • Raptor Fan says:

      If you read the article, it’s one of the destinations that Howard wants to go too so he can be with Deron Williams because they were both on the Olympic team, Either way Howards gone to the Nets or Lakers.

  23. muhammad says:

    i think the reason Otis re-sign JRich to a lower salary is just to guarantee JRich a contract and at the same time he will be easier to trade elsewhere because of that. With a very low salary than what JRich was getting during his prime, it will be easier for Otis to trade him because the team that would want JRich wont have to negotiate with him about the salary coz he already have a live contract with orlando and just gonna be turned-over to them. We know that JRich @ 30 can still score. Teams will be interested to get a former all-star that can still score for a cheaper price. He might not be a centerpiece of a trade deal but would be a great add-on to facilitate a trade. I think that makes sense.

  24. ko0kie says:

    yeah or giving an oden almost 9 mio $.. a guy who probably never even hits the court this season..

  25. Ams714 says:

    Let’s draft and circulate a petition for the Magic to fire and replace Otis Smith immediately! This is NOT Dwight’s fault!

    If ANY of us were in working conditions that we did not feel gave us the BEST opportunity to succeed we would be inclined to resign as well. Otis cannot blame Dwight no more than any of us!

    Calling Dwight a thug or disloyal is UNFAIR indeed and is selfish.

    God bless you Dwight, some of us get it and though you may be leaving we appreciate sharing the ups and downs with you. Remember to communicate. Without communication you leave the door open to speculation.

  26. Chad818 says:

    That’s because Otis Smith has a relationship with Richardson since the Golde State Warrior days when Otis was working there. Thats why he took Gilbert out of Washington. Gilbert , J Rich and Troy Murphy, and Dunlevy are his guys. They all do each others favors. Its who you know. you have to know also that Dan Fegan represents J Rich along with D Howard, Troy Murphy and had Gilbert at one time as well. Its a family thing.

  27. Jacky says:

    I was thinking about a 3 team trade involving the rockets and the hornets
    Hornets get: Johnny Flynn, 1st round pick, Earl Clark
    Rockets Get: Trevor Ariza, Chris Duhon
    Magic Get: Chris Paul

  28. Raajvir says:

    Otis Smith is an incompetant general manager. He took a team that was in the final and transformed it in two years to a team that lost in the first round that has no future prospects in terms of draft picks and has many players that are being way over payed. Orlando will be rebuilding for a while its a shame I love the magic……

    • matt A. says:

      otis smith gots to go

    • TWizz says:

      Playoffs are all about matchups. Magic probably had better matchups in the year they went to the finals then they did in the recent years.

    • Rob K says:

      C’mon, things are not as bad in Otown (even if Dwight leaves) as to think that the team will totally tank. Otis is working on the best possible trade for Dwight or even a trade to KEEP Dwight in Orlando. He’s a sneaky guy who does unexpected things…. Either way, despite what everyone says, the Magic will be a playoff team again at the end of the season. You’ll see!

  29. Zach says:

    This is insane Otis Smith had better have a master plan or he has to go. If he trades dight Howard thers no one to space the floor and no use for Jason Richardson all he can do anymore is shoot the 3 ball hes washed now i cant imagine where he will be in 3 years

    • cliff says:

      It seems kinda obvious to me. Lakers need to take on a sizeable contract besides Howard to land Howard. It was thought to be Hedo but what IF it’s Richardson? Makes perfect sense from everything I’ve heard. Lakers send Pau, Bynum plus the Dallas picks to Orlando to get Howard and Richardson. Likely Lakers would need to add another small piece, maybe their own first rounder or something but that Trade makes sense and makes sense why Richardson was signed. In fact, it’s the ONLY thing that makes sense in that signing.

  30. YZ says:

    Cant agree with more!!

  31. DWADE123 says:

    Or Chicago could just sign Jamal Crawford (6th man of the year in 2010)
    Either way Bulls would get that missing peice and be a force in the Eastern Conference
    And both players would help out Derrick Rose
    If you want a better ball handler and play maker then Jamal Crawford is your guy.
    If you want a more athletic shooting guard and knock down 3-point shooter then J-Rich is your guy.

    • Jimmy says:

      how exactly is crawford being the starting 2guard going to help d rose? if you even watched him on the hawks he does all his damage with the ball in his hands. hes a true scorer but needs the ball in his hands as does d rose. so plz get some bball knowledge

  32. DWADE123 says:

    Sorry about that it is Derrick Rose not Derrck Rose.

  33. DWADE123 says:

    Jason Richardson should sign with the bulls to help out Reining MVP(Derrck Rose)
    And plus he would be that 2 guy and the missing peice of the puzzle that Chicago needs, he could also win a championship, and who would want to stay in orlando Dwight Howard is leaving.
    One problem, the bulls have retired number 23 so good luck finding another number J-Rich

  34. bongbangbung says:

    I think most of the GMs doing amazing job with their teams but some GMs don’t do as good as they are supposed to.
    Owners shouldn’t give GM positions to ex-NBA players. They approach their job with their heart as they did as players. GM is strictly business, so strong business background should be priority when hiring GMs. Just a thought.

  35. ryan says:

    jason richardson does not only depend on his athleticism for scoring, he can be a great scorer for at least 3 more years. 6.25 is not bad for a guaranteed 15ppg

  36. NBAguy says:

    Chauncey Billups to Miami Heat! Thats the headline. @OtisSmith learn from the Pro – PatRiley

    • Jimmy says:

      that would be nasty. and im not even asking for mr big shot to show up in a heat jersey. just a veteran pg who can really move the ball around to wade lbj and bosh and hit some shots!!

  37. aldrin says:

    I hope that J-rich is being signed to have a valuable trading piece

    • Fred McFakenamison says:

      Isn’t there a restriction on how soon newly-signed players can be traded? Three months from memory. Could be wrong…

  38. JY says:

    Look, maybe Smith knows something that we don’t know (nor does DA, at least yet).
    While the money J-Rich will be getting might seem a little steep right now, but he will be at a minimum a serviceable guard for a few years. And should he deteriorate quicker, in two years this contract will become “cap relief”.
    Anyway, maybe there is a sign-and-trade here that isn’t in the rumor mill yet. Maybe Chicago is making a play for Howard, but still wants J-Rich. And Howard probably wouldn’t mind playing with a MVP, a guy that can hit the open trey and a team system, that won 62 games last season.
    Even if there isn’t some kind of greater goal in mind for Smith here and he is just signing J-Rich for his game, Orlando will need a post-Howard veteran to show the young players coming in for Howard how to be a professional.
    Guess we will find out sooner or later.

    • Jimmy says:

      well put JY, and that idea isnt a bad one chicago trying to push for dwight and j-rich but i dont see it happening. bulls definitely have more “pieces” than nets to use for howard but he wants to go to nets.

  39. Backlash says:

    lol@mike has to be the chuck hayes deal 20 million dollars for a undersize center..they could’ve brought nene or deandre jordan in for half as much and their real centers.

    • shurik says:

      first of all, who said nene and jordan will sign for half the money? nene is looking for over 10 a season. jordan will get around 6-8 just for his potential.
      regarding hayes… he is by far the most under rated players in the league. you cannot compare height with heart. teams like sacramento, who will score any how, can aford to have hayes on the floor for extended minutes. he wont score or shoot a lot, but will make a huge difeference on D.

  40. Tim says:

    What are you thinking, Otis?! Glad I’m not a Magic fan right now.

  41. zeroinkill says:

    its not fiat, its determinism….take philosophy than you’ll know what i mean. take the past history of the nba and we can predict whats going to happen. simple as that.

  42. mike says:

    i don’t know what’s worse the clippers signing a washed up Caron Butler, the Sacramento Kings giving CHUCK HAYES 20 million dollars, or old Otis Smith overvaluing his own players. These owners and gm’s are complete idiots. No wonder they are losing money year after year. Iso Caron Butler is getting 7.5 million per season with the Clippers less than a year after a Patella injury. Anyone who has played sports knows that the Patella injury is the worst. Butler is finished. I couldn’t make this stuff up!

    • Eric says:

      I agree that those players got too big of contracts, but really what can we do? Who is going to sign with the kings? We have to spend money due to the new CBA and no big name player is getting their bags packed to come play in Sacramento! We are kind of forced into overpaying for second rate free agents as that is all that will consider playing for us. just the way it is!

    • Sosay says:

      sayin. maybe the biggest problem the nba has is incompetent gm’s. losers.

    • KingsFan says:

      You’re an idiot for thinking Chuck Hayes isn’t worth 20 mil over 4 years..He is a perfect fit for a young team like the Kings. Definitely underrated. Demarcus Cousins is an offensive animal in the paint, the Chuckwagon is a defensive beast. Great combination for the money.

      • NBA Fan says:

        Ditto! The Chuckwagon is a beast defensively. Just check youtube for some of the videos of him totally shutting Amare down last year and listen to one of the GOAT, Tim Duncan. Says he doesn’t like playing against Hayes because he’s so strong on the defensive block.

  43. Andrew says:

    Why do teams care where a player wants to be traded? Trade him to the Bobcats, so he can think about abandoning a good team, that set up a roster around him, at his request.

  44. nyk25 says:

    Horrible GM. Making Horrible Moves. END OF STORY.

  45. mike says:

    otis smith is a moron!

  46. Nba intelligence says:

    Oh Otis. Where is your mind at? But on to more important matters. New York, L.A Lakers, Miami, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, San Antonio, Atlanta, OKC, Memphis, And Now New Jersey!!!! I love the Nba!! To see all these teams fight for the Championship….Its going to be amazing!!! Oh, and the reason why I say Atlanta? Reports are that Tracy Mcgrady is as healthy as he was in his prime! Playing along a superstar like Joe Johnson, and all-stars like Smith and Hortford? I believe they can win 6th spot guaranteed….But New York should be number 2 if not number 1!!

    • imad akel says:

      oh man don’t be writing stuff like that about TMAC you’ll get my hopes and expectations up which could all end in disappointment..

      I was a huge TMac fan growing up and its been painful for me watching him these past few years…

      What i’m seriously most concerned about with TMac is his legacy and whether he’ll make hall of fame. Right now, looking at his career stats, he looks like he might fall short of the hall of fame. Which is a tragedy when i think about it and recall how GREAT he was when he was scoring champion, and how he almost single handedly turned over the 1st seeded Pistons in the first round of the 2003 playoffs…

      I’ve never cared much for the hawks, but if TMac comes back from the dead i will be their #1 fan before you can say playoffs,

    • iceman says:

      @ Nba Intelligence. T-mac may be as healthy as he was in his prime, but he’s not as young as he was in his prime. He can’t fight father time, no matter how strong his will is.

    • Jimmy says:

      lol @ superstar joe johnson. if only he earned his 20mil a year. definitely plays like a 20mil player. i hope those t-mac reports are right though becuz i am a huge fan. but you cant predict anything now. once he steps on the court for 66 games if he can make it, who knows if the pain comes back in a couple games?

  47. John says:

    This isn’t a questionable transaction. Jason Richardson is one of the best shooters in the league, period, and otherwise offers great production in other statistical categories. He’s worth about $10 million, IMO. Signing him for $6.25 million is a tremendous bargain and would be a solid piece in the puzzle of building a champion. I’d love a team full of Richardson-caliber players at that price tag, I might be able to win the championship at a payroll that is $15 million below the salary cap. This might actually be the best free agency bargain all year, comparable to the Lakers signing Ron Artest for $6 million a few years ago.