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With the trade deadline nine days away, one of the most prevalent names that keeps circling the rumor mill is that of Orlando Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick, whose actual availability is a matter of conjecture.
Redick has been the subject of trade scuttlebutt all season, and it's easy to understand why. He's one of the best in the league at the long-range shot, and that's a skill that no team can really have enough of. Redick is one of only 10 active shooters to have hit at least 40 percent of his career 3s (minimum of 500 makes.) He's a proven commodity.
Redick is also on an expiring contract and plays for a rebuilding team. A more obvious trade target, you will not find. Whether or not Orlando wants to trade Redick, NBA general managers might wear out the cell phone of Rob Hennigan, their Magic counterpart.
Over at ESPN Insider's Rumor Central, six teams have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Redick over the past month: the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets. That's five East teams chasing the Heat, plus a Nuggets squad trying to close the gap between themselves and the power teams atop the West standings.
The Knicks already rank second in the league in made 3s and sixth in percentage, and don't have much in the way of young assets, so we'll cut them out of the Redick sweepstakes. The Celtics need the backcourt help, but don't have the young pieces either or expiring contracts to make a deal work. They're out.
The other four squads rank in the bottom half of the league in successful 3s, so the need is obvious. The question is, for a team landing Redick, what kind of impact could it expect?
I took a stab at answering that by using ESPN's Trade Machine and plugging the reconfigured rosters into a simulation model. Here's who would benefit most from Redick's skills, or what we'll refer to as the "Redick Effect."
Indiana Pacers | Redick Effect: Plus 5.2 wins
Why they need him: The Pacers are a great defensive team, but rank only 24th on the offensive end and are in the middle of the pack in 3-point shooting.
What they'd give up: Indiana owns all its first-round picks. What it doesn't have are any obvious trade candidates. Perhaps a pick plus a package of young players including Tyler Hansbrough, Miles Plumlee and Lance Stephenson might do the trick. The Pacers would have to get creative to make Redick's $6.2 million salary work under the trade rules.
Rotation tweaks: We're more or less replacing Stephenson with Redick in the rotation. Though, like Chicago, the Pacers have a returning star in Danny Granger, who should eventually push Paul George back to the 2. The Pacers have a 50.0 power rating so far this season. Re-figuring that with Granger, Indiana's baseline actually falls to 47.3, which harkens to our pessimistic preseason projections, but should improve with Redick's 16.8 PER replacing Stephenson's 12.2.
What the sims say: Sure enough, the Pacers' baseline jumped to 52.5 with Redick in and Stephenson out. It matters, but is it enough to get by Miami? Probably not, and it's questionable whether Indiana has the pieces to swing a deal anyway. But if the Pacers could land Redick, he would boost Indiana's inconsistent attack.
Chicago Bulls | Redick Effect: Plus 3.4 wins
Why they need him: The Bulls are 29th in the league in 3-pointers made. Just as crucial as a paucity of long-range shooters has been the absence of Derrick Rose and his ability to create open looks by contracting the defense. However, the Bulls could stand to upgrade the rotation spot that has been held down by veteran Richard Hamilton, especially with Rose on the cusp of returning.
What they'd give up: It'd have to be a pretty sweet package of young assets, because the Bulls aren't in a position to absorb any salary. They could send Orlando rookie first-rounder Marquis Teague and a couple of veterans who probably would be bought out -- Hamilton and Vladimir Radmanovic. They make the salaries work in this deal. A first-round pick would have to be included but probably not the pick Charlotte owes the Bulls, which is unprotected in 2016.
Rotation tweaks: We're basically talking about replacing Hamilton with Redick in the Chicago rotation.
What the sims say: Over 82 games, the Bulls got an average of 3.4 extra wins from Redick's presence, improving their baseline to 59.4 games. That's with Rose, and assumes he's at full strength. Between Redick's shooting and Rose's everything, the Bulls jump to 11th in 3s made.
Denver Nuggets | Redick Effect: Plus 1.4 wins
Why they need him: The Nuggets rank 19th in 3s made and 28th in percentage. They really need another shooter to get them through Danilo Gallinari's bad shooting nights. Marginal gains could be huge for a team hovering on the fringe of title contention, but who gets their playing time cut?
What they'd give up: The Nuggets own a $13 million trade exception, so if they're willing to spend the luxury tax money, they can absorb Redick's contract with no problem. It's just a matter of finding a package of young assets the Magic like. Orlando already has a pick via Denver as a byproduct of the Dwight Howard trade last summer, but the Nuggets have another they could send along. The Nuggets' 2012 first-rounder, Evan Fournier, might have to go as well.
Rotation tweaks: The Nuggets currently go nine deep; with Redick, George Karl would juggle 10 players. This probably would cut into Corey Brewer's time a bit, among others.
What the sims say: Denver begins with a 55.2 power rating in my system, fifth best in the league. To work in Redick, the Nuggets probably would have to play small more often, with Gallinari playing more 4 and Kenneth Faried more 5. On paper, the trade-off helps, but the margin is thin -- Denver's win baseline edges up to 56.6, still shy of the big three in the West. It's probably not worth the tax dollars when Karl already has so much to work with.
Milwaukee Bucks | Redick Effect: Plus 1.1 wins
Why they need him: Brandon Jennings is Milwaukee's only real 3-point threat from the backcourt.
What they'd give up: The Bucks could send a first-rounder and/or a young piece such as Ekpe Udoh or Tobias Harris, while moving Beno Udrih to make the salaries work. Milwaukee would have to take on additional salary, perhaps Josh McRoberts.
Rotation tweaks: Redick would essentially replace Udrih in the near term as a backup to Jennings and Monta Ellis, who has an expiring contract and might be on the trade block himself. So the Bucks could angle to keep Redick as a third guard beyond this season while seeking out a rangier wing to pair with Jennings.
What the sims say: Redick would be marginalized in a backcourt rotation that features two ball-dominant guards, and it would be really tough to play them all together and field a semblance of an NBA-quality defense. The end result is a win total that is improved, but not by enough to move the needle. If Milwaukee splurges on Redick, it's with the idea of him being a long-term roster upgrade.
So while the Pacers stand to gain the most from acquiring Redick, the pieces aren't necessarily there to make the deal happen. That really leaves the Bulls as the best landing spot for Redick -- a team that not only benefits from Redick's skills but also has the assets to send back to Orlando. They tried to get him once before, so there's interest. A Rose-Redick backcourt could do significant damage down the stretch as Rose regains his All-Star form.
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