The Orlando Magic must really dislike the restricted free agency system. Because there have been several times where it really seems like they’re just matching offers from other teams out of spite. Last year it was Marcin Gortat, who was frozen in place despite an offer from the Mavericks that would have given him more minutes and an opportunity to be a heavy rotation player.
This year? After the Bulls offered J.J. Redick a 3-year, $20 million deal, Magic GM Otis Smith told ESPN the Mag’s Ric Bucher that he “anticipated” matching the Bulls offer and retaining Redick, despite Orlando being considerably over the luxury tax line.
Redick has grown under Stan Van Gundy, who initially had severe hesitations about the former Duke guard. But Redick’s work on defense, consistency, and poise developed to go alongside his already tremendous perimeter shooting ability, and Redick has been a key part of the Magic’s playoff run the past two seasons.
But this is a similar case of the Magic considering matching an offer out of spite. Redick averaged over 20 minutes per game for the first time in his career last season, and still remains a cog among several components in the Magic back court. I’m not saying that the Magic should do what’s best for Redick. This isn’t college. But they should consider the amount of money they’ll be spending on a player they have no intention of starting or giving heavy minutes to. The Bulls have paid him starter money, you want him to be a backup. Seems like a simple equation.
The Magic may feel pressured to match because of the arms race going on around them. Losing any player in this free agency period means you take a step back while the rest of your Eastern competitors get significantly better, and not just the Miami Thrice.
Smith told ESPN he’ll take the full seven days allotted to consider whether or not to match the offer.