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Free agent Jason Richardson has agreed to a four-year, $25 million contract to stay with the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Richardson, one of the top swingmen on the market, had wanted to remain with the Magic. Several teams had shown Richardson, who has averaged 18 points a game in his 10-year career.
The Magic were hoping that the re-signing of Richardson could help convince Dwight Howard to remain with Orlando. Howard has asked the Magic to trade him to the New Jersey Nets, Yahoo! Sports reported Saturday. Howard can become a free agent July 1.
The Orlando Magic’s decision to re-sign Jason Richardson is a curious one. It’s true that the Magic needed to address the starting shooting guard position. Richardson was a free agent and even though J.J. Redick is more than capable of sliding in and becoming a starter, for what Orlando needs at shooting guard, he’s likely better off remaining a reserve.
And here’s the thing. What the Magic need is a dynamic perimeter scorer that can create his own shot. Richardson doesn’t do that.
After playing on a faster-paced team like the Phoenix Suns and having the luxury of Steve Nash helping to create open looks for him, Richardson’s numbers dropped dramatically once he stepped on the floor in an Orlando uniform after getting traded to the team midseason. Sad to say but Jameer Nelson isn’t Nash when it comes to passing the basketball and with everything revolving around Howard on offense, Richardson’s impact with the Magic was minimal. That’s largely because Richardson can’t create his own shot enough. Sure, Richardson is more than capable of spotting up from the perimeter or coming around screens and looking to score that way. But Richardson doesn’t do enough damage in isolation sets or pick-and-rolls. It’s not in Richardson’s skill-set.
Via Synergy Sports Technology:
|2010-2011 regular season (ORL)||Time||Poss.||PPP||Rank|
|P&R Ball Handler||8.5%||70||0.83||69|
Did I mention that Richardson isn’t a good defender?
So if Richardson can’t fill a need for the Magic, why bring him back? If it’s for continuity’s sake, that’s not a good enough reason.
Oh, and why a four-year contract?
Surprisingly enough, general manager Otis Smith probably got fair value for Richardson. A four-year, $25 million contract for a starting two-guard like Richardson, someone that’s typically an average-to-above average player, isn’t a bad one. Perhaps the yearly salary is a smidgen high but not ridiculously so. The problem is that Richardson is about to turn 31, and the length of the contract is four years. Meaning that Richardson will still be getting paid like a starter in the NBA at 35 years old when it’s almost a guarantee he won’t be that good at the end of his contract. Wing players like Richardson that mostly rely on athleticism don’t age well, even if he is a capable shooter from the perimeter, and his defense is only going to get worse over time.
On top of the fact that contracts like the one Richardson received at his age, which is a little more than the mid-level exception, usually don’t pan out very well and you have another head-scratching move by Smith.