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Magic intend to sign Jason Richardson as franchise spirals further into madness

Dec 10, 2011, 8:53 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three Getty Images

Let’s play a little thought exercise.

Magic GM Otis Smith walks into a room. He stands at a podium and answers questions regarding the state of the team. He opens by informing the media that Dwight Howard has requested a trade, twice, today, in the last year year of his contract. His team is facing the edge of disaster, trading away a superstar which never nets equal return and which guarantees that the team will not be competing for a title this year or any other in the near future. He is now faced with the unenviable task of trying to determine who to trade Howard for and more importantly for what, trying to direct the franchise forward through a difficult rebuilding period.

He will be diligent. He will still try to win as long as Howard is here, but will also do what is “best for the franchise at all times.”

Following that, does the GM:

A. Quietly finish out the humiliating session and then try and construct a complicated three-to-four team trade that brings picks and young players to Orlando while ditching salary.

B. Make one last swing for a star to go along with the star, leveraging the future but trying to get the kind of star player that can keep Howard in town.

C. Give Jason Richardson, a soon-to-be-32-year-old shooting guard a four-year, $24 million deal.

Obviously Smith gave Richardson the four-year deal, via Yahoo! Sports.

It’s a terrible idea. Richardson was probably going to get something similar to that deal on the open market, but that says more about the market than Richardson. He’s a good defender. He can hit from the outside.

But he’ll be making more than $8 million when he’s 36 and the Magic are trying to move him for anything they can. He’ll be a chain around their neck. It’s the kind of deal that got the Magic into this situation. Maybe Smith is in shock. Maybe he doesn’t understand what’s standing before him. Maybe he just really thinks Richardson can still put in big numbers. But the reality is that Orlando is watching the Titanic sink, and now they just had a new dining table airlifted in.

  1. 973yenots - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Orlando!, get ready to suck!! There’s only room for one NBA beast in the sunshine state! Go Heat!!

  2. bhester1906 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    This move was on fear that Chicago would get him. He shoots defends and doesn’t have to have the ball. Exactly what they needed. Yet and still, that too much for this guy.

    • cside2605 - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      I’m a Magic fan … and I agree with you, totally. If the Magic are already over the cap, isn’t there a rule stating that they can re-sign one of the Magic players no matter of the cap. This was a no-brainer for Otis, who else in the talent league of J-Rich could he have signed. The better players around, hopefully Dwight will want to stay.

  3. jagwar73 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Add Orlando to the growing list of Washington Generals. The NBA is turning into baseball where only several teams have a legit shot at the championship at the BEGINNING of the season. Howard is not up to the challenge of winning with his current team like Nowitzki. Hopefully Durant will have some loyalty (and the heart, unlike Howard) to stay in his city and fight for a championship! I’m rooting for guys and teams like that.

    • kingbuccaneer - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      Dwight is gutless and is a very weak minded person if these statements by him are true. Not every team can win the championship. It’s takes patience, experience, and perseverance to win any title in professional sports. He obviously has none of those characteristics. It was fun Dwight.

  4. notgonnaselfgloss - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    $6 mill/year for J Rich seems like a fair deal. Maybe it’s structured so he makes $8 mill in the last year, but salary cap will go up so it’ll be equivalent to $6 million today.

    Paraphrasing my childhood icon, “Maybe I’m Wrong, and $24 million divided by 4 is more than $6 million, But I Doubt It.”

    Whether as a fit for the team, or a savior, that’s a fair point to argue. But Jason Richardson for Six Million bones a year is completely fair.

    Good site, bad take

  5. philtration - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    NBA Contraction.
    Embrace it.

    • tampajoey - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:17 AM

      Nah, there won’t be Contraction. The NBA needs it’s “Washington Generals” for the Super Teams to beat.

  6. phaktor333 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    This is sad…the Orlando Magic got public money to build that new Amway Center while they were flaunting Howard as the future of the franchise. The legislature was duped into giving funds to build that building as part of a redevelopment plan and as soon as it is built, the team miraculously bottoms out. Happens all the time; the team is good enough for the state or municipality to invest funds in the team for a new building and then the franchise bottoms out while the taxpayers are left holding the bag. Watch how long the Miami Marlins are good for…good enough to have the fans commit funds for season tickets and enjoy the nostalgia and then suck after they have been duped both at the polls and the ticket window. 15 years later, they will want a new building and threaten to leave. Bravo.

  7. EvanZ - Dec 11, 2011 at 6:08 AM

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The new CBA raised the cap floor to 90% in two years, which means teams won’t even be able to re-build properly. In lieu of being able to sign actually good free agents, teams will be forced to overspend on middling players just for the opportunity to lose to a select few franchises where the stars decide to take their talents.

    One potential solution to this situation is to raise the level of the maximum contract to 50 or 60% of the salary cap, perhaps, even higher than that. The logic is that stars would have to decide whether they want to make $30M or more by going to a smaller market or much less than that when they form one of these super teams. What the league has to deal with is that star players have realized that there is no financial incentive for them to take a max contract in a small market, when they can take a few million less to go to a large media market and make tens of millions more in marketing.

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