Redick Reflects on Magic, Dwight Opt-In

DALLAS – Now that J.J. Redick is gone from Orlando, and likely for good, he reflected Tuesday night on his six-plus seasons, all but this one spent with Dwight Howard, and how close the Magic seemed to a dominant run.

Orlando traded the 3-point sharpshooter to the Milwaukee Bucks at last week’s trade deadline. All that’s left of the 2008-09 Finals team that lost in five games to Los Angeles Lakers is Jameer Nelson and the suspended Hedo Turkoglu (who left as a free agent in ’09 and returned in a trade in ’10).

“I can remember being in my third year in the NBA and playing in The Finals,” Redick said Tuesday after scoring 14 points in the Bucks’ 95-90 win over the Mavericks. “You look at Dwight’s contract situation, you look at Rashard’s contract situation, Jameer’s contract situation, we had a chance to re-sign Turk, so you’d think maybe the team would have kept its core together. And you think you’re going to be back in The Finals the next year and the year after that, and it’s frustrating in that sense because I thought we would be back at some point, and we weren’t.

More from Redick in his own words:

Q: How close did you feel the team was to being a dominant force in the Eastern Conference?

A: We were very close. I think the big decision was what to do with Hedo. We didn’t necessarily want to give him a five-year deal and he had options out there, two five-year deals in excess of $50 million with Portland and Toronto. He made his decision and it was a good decision for him. As a player you have to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of your small window to make a living. We made the trade for Vince [Carter] and for whatever reason we just couldn’t get over the top and beat the Celtics the next year. The following season we had a bunch of injuries and sicknesses early on and got off to a little bit of a slow start, and we made two separate blockbuster trades (Carter, Mikael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat to Phoenix for Jason Richardson, Turkoglu, Earl Clark and a first-round pick; and Rashard Lewis to Washington for Gilbert Arenas).

And, to me, that was the turning point. We never really got back to elite status after that.

Q: How did things begin to devolve with Dwight Howard’s ongoing situation?

A: Dating back to a year and a half, two years ago is when things started to get a little hectic in Orlando. It definitely changed the makeup of the organization and the franchise. And obviously, when you have a player of Dwight’s caliber you’re in contention to win a championship. When you lose a player like that there’s a strong possibility you’re going to have to rebuild and it might get a little ugly.

Q: It’s been a little ugly in Los Angeles. The Lakers are essentially backed into the same corner as the Magic were, waiting with bated breath for Howard to make a decision, one he says he won’t make until this summer. He says he doesn’t want another circus, but isn’t he creating another one by being non-committal?

A: I think he’s non-commital, I guess, for a reason. I’m not sure what that reason is, but if he wanted to explore his free agency he could have done it last summer. I’m not sure why he opted in [last year] because he wanted out of Orlando. I’m not really sure.

Q: You dealt with weeks of speculation about where you would be traded or if you would be traded at all. Now that you are with the Bucks, a team that appears, at worst, locked into the No. 8 seed and headed to the playoffs, is there a sense of relief?

A: Yeah, there’s definitely a feeling of relief. My feeling on just being traded in general is it’s part of the business. I’m a guy who just believes in making the best out of any situation. You can’t always change or control your circumstances, but you can change your perspective and your attitude. So no matter where I went, if I had stayed in Orlando, I would have made the most of it.

15 Comments

  1. gamer24586 says:

    Hey – Milwaukee not a great town – but at least JJ will get back into the playoffs!

  2. big man 7 foot 2 says:

    have fun in Milwaukee, just don’t get shot

  3. karoLT says:

    a rare gentleman in the NBA… @NBA FAN even if JJ’s a friend of Dwight o NOT, he’s choosing ATL in revive his career in his hometown to remove his villan status since he loves being loved

  4. NappyNap says:

    JJ you siiiiick bro! i remember seein you practice Trays shooting over an outstretched brooom! gotta Have that Arc baby! just tell monta to drive and kick and you guys will win some games!

  5. Jim says:

    I still think Dwight opted in just so that he wouldn’t be portrayed as a villain (the next lbj) and to give the magic a chance to get something for him in the summer.And we all know how that worked out and imo Dwight came off as even more immature by this move.If you want out just say so don’t hide behind excuses.

  6. berkamore says:

    Thanks, finally somebody says what I’ve been saying about the Magic all that time.

    I never understood why they didn’t keep the core that went to the Finals in 2009. I mean, they were quite deep and I always felt they could have done some damage had they stayed together.

    But anyway, it’s water under the bridge now…………..

  7. sergio says:

    Welcome to Milwaukee JJ! If you can get by all the ridiculous stereotypes about MIlwaukee you will find out its a great city!

  8. Kamote says:

    Great guy in JJ. A pro in every level.

    Orlando got vulnerable after losing Gortat. But just to break hearts, that Magic team will never be better against Boston (they beat them w/o KG) and the Heat, even if they decided to keep the core. That year was great for Orlando since Boston was w/o KG (Rondo wasn’t as good yet) and LBJ was still in Cleveland, but that team is not that good (my apologies to Magic fans, but that’s the truth).

    Anyway, goodluck with JJ :)

  9. basketball godz says:

    damn i miss JJ a sad sad day indeed for magic fans everywhere.maybe we can pick him back up in 3-4 years when we are rebuilt and hopefully contending for a championship again.

  10. JSweet says:

    Dwight needs to take a couple pages from this guys book.

  11. nbafanhere says:

    Everyone wonders the same thing.. why didn’t he tried free agency last summer? lol

  12. pej says:

    great guy he is very frank very professional and a good player. I wish his success.

  13. Raphajiujitsu says:

    Great player and very professional. We’ll miss you in O-town!

  14. NBA FAN says:

    What a true man
    the league needs poeple more players like you. If you still Dwight’s Friends, give him a little advice. If he looses LA he may regret it forever. He might be hurt but there is no comitment in our eyes and thats just as bad as still from others