Bulls want to add J.J. Redick after Kyle Korver


Jul 10

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I’ll call my one shooter and raise you another.

Or so went the Bulls’ gamble late Friday night, as sources said the Bulls reached agreement with restricted free agent J.J. Redick on a front loaded offer sheet of $20 million over three years.

The Orlando Magic has seven days to match the offer.

If the Magic do not match the offer, Redick goes to the Bulls.

If the Magic match, Redick stays with Orlando and can be traded, but not to the Bulls.

The big question for the Magic, and the reason why the Bulls made the offer the way they did, is with Orlando in the luxury tax it will cost the Magic, in effect, $14 million each season for the next two seasons to keep Redick. That’s because they are penalized $1 for every $1 they are into the luxury tax and adding Redick to their payroll is another $7 million annually doubled.

Is J.J. Redick worth $14 million per year to his team?

Thus, in effect, they would be paying more than $30 million for their shooting guard spot between starter Vince Carter and backup Redick.

Would they do that? Would you?

We’ll know in a week.

The money cannot be used by the Bulls on another free agent until the Magic makes its determination.

The move comes hours after the Bulls reached agreement with former Jazz guard/forward Kyle Korver on a $15 million three-year contract.

The combination, if Orlando doesn’t match, answers the Bulls question about perimeter shooting.

Korver was the No. 1 ranked three point shooter in the NBA last season at 53.6 percent and Redick was 17th at 40.5 percent.

Although Redick had a disappointing start to his career, he still is a 39.2 percent career three point shooter. The presumption is the 6-4 Redick from Duke and the 6-7 Korver from Creighton would be a good sharpshooting pair on the perimeter to play off Derrick Rose’s penetration and Carlos Boozer’s post play.

Redick likely would be the starter, which was appealing to him given Carter is ahead of him in Orlando, and would split time with Korver coming off the bench.

It could be an appealing pairing for the Bulls after the acquisition of Boozer, who preceded Redick at Duke and who played with Korver in Utah.

Redick had his best NBA season in 2009-10, averaging 9.6 in 22 minutes with nine starts and shooting 40.5 percent on threes. Redick also has come on in the last two Magic playoff runs, shooting 40.4 percent on threes in 2009 when he started eight playoff games, and 42.9 percent in this season’s playoffs.

The pairing would give the Bulls one of the better three-point shooting perimeter tandems in the league after struggling with long distance shooting since the departure of Ben Gordon last summer.

After being disappointed with the signings of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, if the Bulls were to acquire Redick, it would go a long way to filling out what is becoming a deep and versatile roster of the kind the 2004 Pistons rode to an NBA title over, interestingly enough, a 2004 Lakers team of Hall of Fame mercenaries with Gary Payton and Karl Malone.

Guards: Rose, Redick, Korver, Johnson

Forward: Deng, Boozer, Gibson

Center: Noah, Asik

Obviously, that is several players short still and assuming the acquisition of Redick. But it would give the Bulls good reserves at every position. Although Asik hasn’t played for the Bulls yet and will compete for Turkey in this summer’s World Championships, the new coaching staff has been highly impressed with Asik and sees him similar to Noah and advanced with a few years of play against high level European competition. The team will be surprised if he cannot make an immediate impact.

The Bulls seem so certain Asik will be able to fit into a backup roll well, they’ve lowered their priority in seeking a third center and likely will not spend much in that area.

They appear to be concentrating on shooting guards and still another athletic wing player.

Clearly, Orlando could match as teams often don’t like to lose restricted free agents. But to do so at a $7 million salary for each of the first two seasons would send the Magic without trading players toward the highest payroll in the NBA.

Orlando already has $80 million committed to eight players, Carter, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson. The roster minimum is 13, leaving them five short.

Retaining Redick puts them at $87 million with still four players to add. With the luxury tax kicking in at about $70 million, that could be a $40 million to $50 million tax for Orlando. Yes, they are getting a new arena, but can you afford to be in that position to retain your bench players? It’s a question the Magic will ponder for the next week.

And that is all before signing former Bull Chris Duhon to a four-year $15 million contract. That also suggested to the Bulls it might be difficult for the Magic to match on Redick with another highly paid guard in the fold.

Magic general manager Otis Smith told Orlando media after the signing of Duhon the team wouldn’t overpay for Redick.

“We’d like to have him back, but like to have back at a (certain) number (in salary),” Smith said.

That seemed a signal to the Bulls that a substantial up front offer might net them another floor stretcher at guard with a team less likely to match.

Redick made $2.84 million this season.

The first two years guaranteed on the Bulls offer sheet, sources said, are for $7 million each season at a time the Magic is deep into the luxury tax in both seasons.

With about $5 million to Korver, $7 million on hold with Redick and having worked out a deal for perhaps somewhat more than $1 million for Asik, the Bulls likely have about $4 million to $5 million left to pay free agents. They could seek another shooting guard while the Magic ponder their options, though they seems unlikely.

Redick was the 11th overall pick by the Magic in the 2006 draft after being the college player of the year and all-time collegiate record holder for three-pointers made and is Duke’s all-time leading scorer.

But he looked like a bust after playing little in his first two seasons. Redick is not a classic shooting guard who can create his own shot and attack the defense and not known as a strong defender. But he can catch and shoot and seemed to get back some of the confidence he had at Duke in the last season.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy last week urged the team to retain Redick if they could given Van Gundy felt Redick had come far and was one of his best glue players.

I’d assume the Bulls try to lock up a third string big man and maybe a wing player like Matt Barnes while Orlando contemplates. Then if the Magic match, the Bulls get the $7 million back for this season and will go to other shooting guard options.

It seems unlikely the way they’ve been proceeding the Bulls would pursue a trade of a salary dump for a big name like Richard Hamilton, Jason Richardson or Monta Ellis. The chances of teams letting go those kinds of players are not likely. Plus, the Bulls seem like they are prepared the divide up the money for as many pieces as they can get.

Anthony Morrow is another name that comes up often. He has an offer sheet from the Nets of about $12 million over three years.

Morrow is a better shooter, but the belief around the NBA is Golden State, which is not in he luxury tax, will match while Orlando is the team least likely to match.

Morrow may even be a better choice, but the question comes down to are you better off with Redick than Morrow almost certainly returning to Golden State. The odds are much higher that Redick is let go than Morrow.

So the Bulls will wait.

If they have to go back on the market, you probably can get Raja Bell for less, though he is eight years older. With Korver gone, the word is Utah will match any offer for Wesley Matthews. Among top 40 three point shooters, the Bulls could take a look at Quentin Richardson, though he has injury issues, Nate Robinson or Washington’s Nick Young in trade. I’ve heard mentioned Roger Mason and Keith Boguns. Josh Childress is expected to seek a large salary. There is likely no certain backup plan as yet considering the money will be held for seven days.

But the odds seem in the Bulls favor given fiscal sanity, though with some of these free agent contracts it would be difficult to say that much has often been used.

Stay tuned. Though that’s what we said with TV. Watch your cursor? Tweet, tweet?

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