After struggling early in his NBA career, J.J. Redick has steadily improved and become a key contributor for the Orlando Magic.
Now they’ll have to pay the price to keep him.
Magic general manager Otis Smith said Saturday that he plans to take “the full seven days” to decide whether to match an offer sheet the Chicago Bulls made for Redick.
The Bulls reportedly signed Redick to a $19 million, three-year offer sheet. Because Redick is a restricted free agent, the Magic can match any offer for the shooting guard within seven days.
“We like J.J. He is a part of our team,” Smith said. “We would like to keep him. I’m going to take the full seven days to think about it.”
Smith said the offer was about what he expected Redick to command this offseason after teams — most notably Chicago, New York and New Jersey — that didn’t land LeBron James in free agency had money leftover. Redick made more than $3 million last year.
“Not surprised at all. There are teams out there with a lot of money,” Smith said.
The Magic are not one of them.
They’re already over the luxury tax and tied to bloating contracts. But with 33-year-old Vince Carter in the last year of his deal, the decision might come down to whether the Magic believe Redick is good enough to be his eventual replacement.
Redick was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft after a standout career at Duke. He struggled early in his career and his playing time got so thin in 2008 that Redick and his agent went public with his frustration, asking to get more minutes or be traded.
But Redick continued to mold himself into an all-around player, his passing skills are among the best on Orlando and he is no longer a defensive liability. Redick averaged 9.6 points per game off the bench last season, and 11.2 points in the Eastern Conference finals against Boston.
He’s become a favorite of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, who often praises the shooting guard’s work ethic and hustle. So much so, Van Gundy said during summer league this week that the Magic would likely match any offer made on Redick.
But they might not have anticipated the price tag.
The Bulls are looking to make a splash in free agency after James spurned them to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Chicago has already signed Carlos Boozer from Utah, and a person familiar with the situation said Friday that Kyle Korver would follow.