Time is running out.
The Magic have two weeks before they must make a pretty critical decision for the future of the franchise. Maybe it is not as earth-shattering as the decision the team had to make last year at the trade deadline, but it is one that has become very personal for Magic fans.
Dwight Howard might have been a superstar, but J.J. Redick is a fan favorite. Orlando fans have seen him grow from a college star struggling to find his place into the league into one of the hardest working players on the roster and a guy who not only has shown his college skills translate to the NBA but that he could grow in other areas.
Redick is not just a shooter anymore. He is a good team defender and an improving passer. Also, he is a three-time Iron Magic winner in the team's preseason strength competition.
This is obviously a player the Magic would like to have around if the price is right. But you cannot blame Rob Hennigan for exploring the trade options with the risk that he could leave.
As Hennigan makes that decision, fans are very clear and nearly unanimous that all things being equal, J.J. Redick should stay.
Somewhat similar to the StayDwight campaign that got started last year, season ticketholder Neal Tolar has started KeepJJ to try and organize fans to show support for keeping Redick. The campaign has reached Chelsea Redick, J.J.'s wife, and she is even on board.
Brian Serra of Magic Basketball Online talked to Tolar about why he started the campaign and what Redick means to the organization and fans:
KeepJJ: [Redick] is a professional. A very good talent, with a price point that is well worth the money. A strong man of faith, and a great asset to the community. I just wanted to make sure the Magic new that some of us would find it reprehensible to just give that away.
Redick has made it clear in several interview that he hopes to make things work in Orlando and that he hopes he will be able to finish the year outi n Orlando and sign long term in what has become a very comfortable place for him. But, as a professional, he knows this league is a business and Orlando has to do what is best for them.
Redick seemed almost certain to be traded by the deadline at the beginning of the season. The new management did not quite know him as well and viewed his contract more of as an asset than anything else. After seeing him through the first few months of the season and the work he put in and the leadership he exemplified, the management fell in love with him as much as the fans.
Of course, they still have the duty to weigh every trade option.
However, it is beginning to sound like Redick may not be going anywhere. At least not in the next two weeks before the NBA's trade deadline. Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld reports the Magic seem most likely to stand pat at the trade deadline and look to make major moves during the offseason.
As to Redick, Kyler reports that a "major transaction involving Redick does not appear to be coming." He adds that Redick continues to express a desire to stay in Orlando and would be open to a sign-and-trade deal if he ends up leaving as a free agent.
This is welcome news both for the fans that want to see Redick re-sign and for the managmeent in trying to maximize the assets they have.
Of course, things can change. Until then, all fans can do is join in with Tolar and keep supporting Redick.