J.J. Redick's value to the Orlando Magic has never been higher.
But his trade value also has never been higher.
That's the conundrum Magic executives must wrestle with as the NBA trade deadline approaches on Feb. 21. Although Redick said Sunday that the team is not actively trying to move him to another team, the fact is that other clubs are calling the Magic to try and pry him away.
Redick, 28, is in the final year of his contract, and he began the season knowing that trade rumors would swirl around him. "It hasn't been difficult," he said. "I think I'm handling it well. My concentration has just been on the things that I can control."
What Redick can't control is the Magic's current situation.
The franchise is just beginning a rebuilding project — as the team's record of 15-36 shows — and team officials are trying to create as much salary-cap flexibility as possible for the years ahead.
Does that goal leave room for Redick and for the lucrative new contract he'll command as an unrestricted free agent this summer? Redick is earning $6.2 million this season, and he almost certainly will receive a raise.
The Magic would be able to afford to keep Redick, but that's not the issue.
The issue is whether they would commit significant long-term money to someone who is a role player — albeit a very good, very popular role player who is a team leader.
Rob Hennigan, the Magic's first-year general manager, already has shown a reluctance to re-sign people he views as role players to long-term deals.
In July, Hennigan chose not to match the four-year, $34 million contract the New Orleans Hornets were prepared to offer restricted free-agent power forward Ryan Anderson.
Anderson had just completed a season in which he had averaged 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and shot 39.3 percent from 3-point range — all career highs.
Redick is in the midst of a season in which he's averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game — both career highs — and is shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range.
The one-year-old collective bargaining agreement makes it more crucial than ever that teams spend wisely on salaries.
Beginning with the 2013-14 season, more punitive luxury-tax rules will go into effect. A team over the tax threshold by less than $5 million will have to pay $1.50 for every $1 it's above the tax level. And the tax rates increase for each $5-million increment over the threshold.
Magic face a tough decision on J.J. Redick before Feb. 21 trade deadline
Orlando Sentinel | Feb 12