Back to the drawing board as Magic keep Redick


Jul 15

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So what now?

Although the Bulls have not been notified, it appears likely now the Orlando Magic will match the $20 million/three-year free agent offer for shooting guard J.J. Redick.

The Orlando Sentinel and Fanhouse with former Sentinel reporter Tim Povtak both reported late Thursday the Magic intend to match the offer and make an announcement Friday.

Orlando hasn’t been required to make its intentions known until Saturday.

Although nothing is official yet, both the Sentinel and Orlando-based Povtak with Fanhouse are extremely close with Magic management.

It was a reasonable gamble by the Bulls, given it was a front loaded, two-year guaranteed deal that costs the Magic an extra $7 million in luxury tax each of the first two seasons to retain backup Redick.

But the Magic feel they’ve been forgotten in the Florida excitement over the signing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and want it known they were the most recent Florida Finals team and they intend to compete hard with the Heat. Plus, teams often don’t like to send a message that you can steal their players.

As for Redick, assuming Orlando does match, I don’t see it as a big loss for the Bulls because I did not personally see Redick as a starter, though he was in the top 20 in three-point shooting last season in the NBA. Perhaps the Bulls did see him as a starter, but I could not see if you need a defensive shooting guard to face the likes of Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter and Ray Allen in the East, even John Salmons, how you could have used Redick.

Plus, Kyle Korver is a better shooter than Redick, No. 1 in the NBA, and seems the ideal shooting specialist to come of the bench.

That said, several of the available shooting guards have been signed, like Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Raja Bell, Wesley Matthews and Quentin Richardson.

The Bulls will now have about $12 million left for free agents when they get the money back from the Redick offer and after the earlier signings of Korver and Omer Asik.

My guess is the first priority is former Jazz shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, who is known as a defensive specialist. There have been some questions about injuries with Brewer after he was dealt to the Grizzlies in a salary saving move and then let go by Memphis.

Assuming he is healthy, he could be that defensive two guard on the perimeter the team appears to need. Brewer isn’t much of a shooter as his arm is a bit crooked form a childhood accident, but he is athletic and has a good overall percentage from running the court, which would fit the Bulls style.

If the Bulls do not pursue Brewer, the belief around the NBA now is Portland with the signing of Wesley Matthews to a big contract will finally let go of Rudy Fernandez. The much talked about international star never has gotten much of a chance in Portland and when he did last season with injuries he didn’t shoot the ball well, which is supposed to be his specialty. He’s more an offensive player.

The Bulls also would be expected to look at Keith Bogans, the journeyman guard who last played for San Antonio. He’s regarded as a good defender and decent three point threat, and a favorite of new coach Tom Thibodeau for his style of play and veteran experience.

My sense is those are the top three priorities now, and it would be difficult to figure where the team could go from there.

Rafer Alston has been available, but he’s more point guard and has been tough to deal with. I like Matt Barnes, who said he’s going to make his intentions known Friday, which would suggest they don’t include the Bulls.

J.R. Smith? He’s got one year left and he’s been a problem for the Nuggets, which would seemingly make him a problem for anyone. I wouldn’t take the chance. Monta Ellis? With the Warriors sale, who knows what they’ll do, and the Bulls still need to fill backup point and likely have money left for Brad Miller if he wants to return as Chicago still needs a big man.

Would Orlando deal Michael Pietrus to keep Redick? I wouldn’t.

Earl Watson is available, but mostly has been a point guard. Luther Head apparently had his deal killed by the Hornets, but he’s a small two. Jarvis Hayes? I’m not even sure where he is. Rasual Butler? I have liked him.

The Bucks did OK with Jerry Stackhouse last season, but he seems to want to go to Miami for a minimum. The Bucks probably would deal Carlos Delfino, but for what? There’s Ramon Sessions, but he’s more point and has the kind of long deal the Bulls don’t necessarily want.

Whatever happened to Sasha Pavlovic? I think Eddie House is available, but talk about your lack of defense. Jason Williams also is available, but is a point guard, in a way. Ime Udoka? More three.

Please, no Iverson or McGrady. Or Larry Hughes. Remember, this is about defense.

Roger Mason Jr.? Michael Finley? Javaris Crittenton? He’s only on probation, after all.

Hey, what about Kirk? The Bulls need a defensive shooting guard. Washington doesn’t really need Hinrich, it would seem. Maybe the Bulls flip them back a couple of more firsts and they do even better. Nah, you can’t trade for a player under those circumstances for a year. Maybe eventually.

I’m not sure he can do it or you could count on him, but James Johnson has the size and makeup to be a shooting guard. But it’s probably too much to ask for now. I’ve seen the Bulls are using him there in summer league.

Delonte West? Nah, it can’t be that bad yet, can it?

What do you think? Leave a comment below: