Orlando’s Jason Richardson is officially a free agent, you can tell because he has now said what every free agent is compelled by some law of nature to say.
It’s not about the money, it’s about winning. It’s never about the money. Why would you even think that?
Anyway, here is the quote, via the Saginaw News (which caught up with him at a golf tournament).
“I want to go to a great place for my family,” Richardson said. “I’ve been blessed by God to play in the NBA for a lot of money. I’d like to go someplace that has a chance to win a championship.”
Richardson is at the “I want a ring” stage of his career, so maybe he really means it. As Zach Lowe pointed out at Sports Illustrated, if he really is willing to play for less money, Richardson could fit as the third or fourth option on a contending team. His skills are deteriorating, he is not a number two guy on an elite team anymore. But he could find a role on the right team.
Can you picture Richardson as the two guard in Chicago? As Kobe’s backup in Los Angeles? As one of the 1,532 veterans playing a role for Dallas? A backup for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in Boston? Returning to Orlando? Coming off the bench in Miami? As the two guard for the Knicks?
All of those are potentially good fits — and every one of those teams very likely will be at or over whatever the new salary cap looks like. They are not going to be able to pay much if anything.
So we’ll see how committed Richardson really is to winning, he will be in demand. But he’s going to take a steep pay cut to do it. (He’s going to take a steep pay cut anyway, but there may be larger offers.)