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Smith told the Sentinel that he “anticipates” Vince Carter remaining with the team, wants to re-sign J.J. Redick and doesn’t expect to package little-used, but expensive players (such as Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass) in a sign-and-trade deal for a star free agent.
As for starting small forward Matt Barnes, Smith was more non-committal, considering it was Barnes who took the unusual step Monday to formally announce he would opt out of his two-year contract and go exploring as a free agent.
Smith doesn’t plan on making major changes to the 59-win team and instead said he’ll “make some tweaks.”
There’s only one month left until the fun begins — free agency — for teams such as the New York Knicks, who will be looking to lure and sign big-name free agents like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and others. The Orlando Magic have been in that position before, most notably in 2000, when they did the song and dance routine with Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady. The Magic know better than almost every team in the NBA … at first, free agency can be a dream but it can end up being a nightmare before it’s all said and done.
Ten years later, though, Orlando is in a position to make a tweak here and there. Not a facelift.
Barring something unforeseen and given what’s been reported, it appears that J.J. Redick will probably re-sign with the Magic. Redick loves the organization and the organization loves Redick. And since Redick stated on Monday that he wouldn’t mind maintaining his role with the Magic and winning than becoming a starter on another team, unless something crazy happens between now and July 1, it seems like a deal will be worked out sooner or later. Redick has proven to be a valuable player time and again for Orlando, especially in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, so it’s most likely a sure bet that general manager Otis Smith will do his due diligence and try to keep Redick.
On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Barnes seems like the player most likely to leave the Magic and go elsewhere but it’s hard to predict where he’ll end up. Barnes opted out and is clearly looking for a raise, whether it’s with Orlando or somewhere else, but he could be replaced if push came to shove. Yes, Barnes brings the cliche “intangibles” that everyone enjoys and praises about a player, like his toughness and what not, and there’s no denying that he can always be counted on to give a consistent effort on the floor night in and night out, but he’s replaceable. That doesn’t mean Barnes shouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms if he returned to the Magic, though.
As for Brandon Bass, Vince Carter, and Marcin Gortat, who knows what will happen with them. The respective futures of each of them will probably hinge on whether or not Orlando sticks with their current 4-out/1-in philosophy.