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Magic nearing crossroads with J.J. Redick

It did not take long for the first trade rumors to start taking shape after the December 15 opening of the trade season. The Magic figured to be a big part of many trade discussions thanks to the "transition" the franchise is in after Dwight Howard's departure.

That has meant anyone is on the table as the Magic try to figure out what kind of team and franchise they will become.

Their most valuable trade asset is undoubtedly J.J. Redick, who is on the last year of a three-year deal that has netted him more than $18 million. Redick is the kind of player that could help a team in the Playoff hunt because of his ability to make shots and his burgeoning ability to make plays with the ball in his hands — he is posting a career-high 26.0 percent assist rate.

What playoff team would not want that?

Ric Bucher of Comcast SportsNet reports several teams are interested in the sharpshooter, but the Magic are not open to any ofers being made right now.

There's no urgency on the part of the Magic for several reasons, according to a source.

One: after a rough 5-10 start, Orlando has gone 6-3, a burst not coincidentally launched by a soul-satisfying win over former teammate Dwight Howard and the Lakers.

If Redick is moved, it will be for a younger talent and/or a draft pick and the Magic wouldn't mind staying competitive for as long as they can this season.

Two: as of right now, the potential suitors aren't anywhere near making their best offer. The likeliest trade partners: Chicago, Memphis, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Utah. The Bulls were interested in Redick as a FA and Memphis supposedly expressed recent interest. I haven't heard directly that Minnesota, Milwaukee and Utah have talked to Orlando but Redick fits their systems and/or fills a need.

Well the Magic as of now are a playoff team, sitting a game behind the Celtics for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. There certainly is a reluctance on their part to make any major deal with the chance to win still in sight.

After all, Orlando has said it is trying to maintain a winning attitude, and straight tanking probably does not get that job done.

SportsCity.comRob Hennigan though told Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel that nothing is off the table — and he guards the inner workings at Amway Center like they are state secrets. That might include keeping Redick past the February 21 trade deadline and allowing Redick to face free agency.

if that happens, that likely means Redick is part of Orlando's long-term plans. With the way he has flourished in the sixth man role for Jacque Vaughn, that may not seem like a horrible idea. A three-year deal modeled off his current deal could be reasonable. And Redick has already stated he hopes to stay in Orlando, although he understands the business nature of the league as he explained on The David Baumann Show of ESPN 1080 in Orlando.

Rob (Hennigan) and I talked back in August and Rob knows my agent (Arn Tellum) fairly well so I don’t think I’ll be blindsided by any trade. The trade story that came out the other day that was on HOOPSHYPE [Bucher's report] was more of a non-story than anything else, so I wasn’t too frazzled by that or anything. Chelsea (J.J.’s wife) and I have obviously had a lot of discussions over the past few months and we would love to be in Orlando.

I don’t know what’s going to happen at the trade deadline. The Magic have to do what’s best for the organization and if I am here post-deadline and I finish the season here, they have to make the decision about what’s best for the future of the franchise, but I’d like to be a part of that. I think that I fit in with the culture and what they’re trying to build. I’m about winning and about improving and getting better every day and as they move forward toward the future I think I’ll be a great fit here.

That tension does appear to exist. And if Redick continues to play as well as he has, the Magic will have to weigh Redick's value very carefully.

New general manager Rob Hennigan will have to assess Redick's value on the market and assess the value of any offers the team receives. Now he might also have the added cost of going for or abandoning a Playoff chase from this unexpected group.

Redick plays a big role in that and now this reserve guard is becoming a key to where Orlando goes in the future.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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