Magic match offer, keep JJ Redick

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nba_redick.jpgWhat follows is a sentence that I never thought I would type three years ago:

The Orlando Magic had no choice but to match the three-year, $20 million offer to JJ Redick.

Orlando did just that Thursday, according to FanHouse (and confirmed by other sources now).

Redick came into the league with that Duke hype and was a guy who could knock down the three. And that was about it. He had trouble seeing the floor because Stan Van Gundy wants guys to defend.

But credit to Redick because he wanted it, he worked hard and developed his game. He made it happen. He can defend now, he makes the right decisions on offense, and plays under control even under pressure. And he can still knock down the three.

Orlando needed to match for two reasons. One, he’s now a key part of their rotation and if they are a team serious about their title chances they need him on the floor. It was not a coincidence that he was getting some key minutes from Vince Carter in the playoffs.

Second, if Orlando didn’t match, Redick would have gone to Chicago. There is an arms race in the East now with Miami and Boston (Jermaine O’Neal makes them even bigger and longer) and everything Chicago has done. Redick would have been a perfect fit at the two in Chicago, and the Magic can’t let another good team in the conference get better like that.

Orlando’s ownership is spending to win, they could have a payroll pushing $84 million (as it stands now). That’s way over the luxury tax line, but in the arms race in the East they have to spend to have a chance.