Otis Smith: Magic Won't Overpay for Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick
The Orlando Magic on Thursday did sign point guard Chris Duhon to a four-year, $15 million contract. But general manager Otis Smith said the Magic, NBA finalists two years ago and Eastern Conference finalists last spring, is now willing to be patient and see how things unfold in free agency, especially after LeBron James announces his intentions Thursday night.
"Chris is probably the biggest thing (the Magic had on its offseason docket) as a backup behind Jameer (Nelson),'' Smith said in an interview with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League. "For us, sometimes it's better just to sit still for a minute and not be in a hurry to do anything. And maybe we'll sit still for a second.''
The Magic do have two of its own free agents the team would like to re-sign in forward Matt Barnes and guard J.J. Redick. But Smith stressed the Magic won't overpay for either.
Sources say other teams looking at Barnes are Miami, Cleveland and Washington and Dallas.
"He's probably out in the market looking at opportunities for himself and we're probably doing the same thing,'' Smith said of Barnes, who opted out of a contract that would have paid him $1.6 million next season. "We'd like to have him back, but the dollars and cents have to make sense for us. ... We haven't offered him any deal (yet).''
Barnes last season averaged 8.8. points for Magic while Redick averaged 9.6. Smith said the Magic also is cognizant of not wanting to overpay Redick but his situation is different due to being a restricted free agent.
"He's a restricted guy so we're not going to bid against ourselves,'' Smith said of Redick, who made $2.84 million last season. The Magic would have seven days on to match any offer sheet.
"We'd like to have him back, but like to have back at a (certain) number (in salary). It's similar to Matt's situation. The only difference is Matt can sign from under us, and J.J. really can't. He has to come through an offer sheet (to possibly go to another team).''
For now, Smith is happy to have Duhon in the fold. The Magic introduced its new point guard Thursday.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity,'' Duhon said at a press conference. "I'm excited to come down here and fight to win a championship. We have a great group of guys here, and I'm excited to start getting to work with coach (Stan) Van Gundy and the team.''
Duhon's signing means two of the top point guards in a very weak free-agency class have been gobbled up by contenders. The two-time defending champion Lakers locked up Steve Blake to a four-year, $16 million deal.
Perhaps the two top remaining free-agent point guards are Charlotte's Raymond Felton and Boston's Nate Robinson. In addition to the Celtics, sources said teams looking at Robinson include New Jersey, Miami and Chicago.
Robinson had told FanHouse last month he had interest in re-signing with the Celtics because "I feel wanted'' in Boston. Sources said he still has that interest and the Celtics like him, but Robinson likely is going to take his time in letting the process play out.
Sounds like what the Magic now will do.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson