With multiple outlets, including Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD, reporting that the Chicago Bulls have made inquiries regarding J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic, it’s time to sit down and figure out whether it’s worth making a deal and what such a deal might look like, in theory.
Let’s start with the basics. This is not the first time the Bulls have made a run at Redick. They signed him to an offer sheet when he was a restricted free agent in 2010, but the Magic matched it. Imagine, if you would, that 2010-11 Bulls team with Redick in place of Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans. I’ll wait.
Anyway, Redick is having what might be his best season of his career, even as his team falls apart around him. He’s scoring 15.5 points per game on 45.7% FG, 40.1% 3PT and 89.3% FT. His 4.5 assists per game are also a career high. His PER is 16.8 (another career high), his True Shooting Percentage is .602, only .04 shy of his career high, and his Effective Field Goal Percentage is .562, a career high by far. So, if you need those last stats simplified, he’s shooting more with Dwight Howard gone, and he’s being more efficient about it.
Redick also has an expiring contract, which is the main reason the Magic will probably trade him in the next week or so, rather than lose him for nothing after the season. He’s making a touch over $6 million this season, which makes him affordable for the Bulls, hard cap or not. Of course, his impending free agency make things a little trickier because there’s not necessarily a guarantee he’ll re-sign after the season.
Now, in answer to the first question: It would absolutely be to the Bulls’ advantage to trade for Redick. He gives them an outside shooter that they desperately need, and while he’s neither a great passer nor a great defender, he’s at least OK at both. He is capable of working off screens in the manner of a Richard Hamilton or a Kyle Korver, spotting up on the weak side, or handling the ball to punish an over-aggressive closeout.
The second question is trickier. Here’s what we know:
- Any deal for Redick would have to include Rip Hamilton. He’s the only tradeable player on the roster with a contract that works.
- There will be a draft pick headed to Orlando. Magic GM Rob Hennigan has spent the last few months stockpiling draft picks and there’s no reason to think he’ll stop now.
- Further salary has to be added because of the hard cap. Under normal circumstances, Redick for Rip would work, but the Bulls can’t take on extra money.
So really, there are two things that need to be determined before any Redick trade: Whose draft pick would go to the Magic, and who will be added as filler?
The draft pick would almost have to be the one the Bulls own from the Charlotte Bobcats. Chicago simply doesn’t have any other significant assets to offer. But the filler is more interesting. The Bulls could simply send Marco Belinelli to Orlando — he’s an expiring deal and could serve as Redick-lite for the rest of the season for the Magic — or, they could send two of their minimum salary guys, most likely two of Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed and Marquis Teague.
My choice would be Rip, Belinelli and the Charlotte pick to Orlando for J.J. Redick. It saves the Bulls about $800,000 this year and gives the Magic a long-term asset without making them take on long-term salary. Is it ideal to give up the Charlotte pick for an admittedly non-elite player in Redick? Not really, but there’s never been any guarantee that the pick would turn into anything. It’s unprotected in 2016, but that gives the Bobcats three years to improve. So instead of thinking about it as giving up the top pick in 2016, maybe it would be the 13th pick in 2015. You’d do that deal, right?
In short: The Bulls need to trade for J.J. Redick, and they need to do it now. But they won’t, because they’re stupid.