The best thing for the Milwaukee Bucks is if they can persuade J.J. Redick to become a fan of ice fishing and stay for a while.
The Bucks really don't know it yet. But with J.J.'s presence, they improved their team on the court, on the practice floor, on the team plane and in the locker room.
Fans will be surprised there's more to J.J. than a jump-shot. He'll win them over, and they'll wonder why he's still booed league-wide just because he played at snooty Duke.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Thursday's Magic trades created a suspenseful day in Dallas for the team
- Losing J.J. Redick leaves Magic fans with nothing but crumbs on the counter
Vote: What do you think of the J.J. Redick trade
The city of Milwaukee will soon see how genuine J.J. and his wife, Chelsea, are in the next two months of the season.
The Bucks should do everything they can to try to keep Redick, a mature leader who'll become a free agent this summer. Their organization will be better for it.
That's the bitter irony of Redick's exit from Orlando: He represented everything the post-Dwight Magic said they wanted in their players of tomorrow.
General Manager Rob Hennigan acknowledged that after trading J.J. on Thursday to the Bucks – seven months after dealing Ryan Anderson, another talent with a work ethic and shiny character.
"They're about what we want to be about," Hennigan said.
"We're looking to bring in players who are about the right things, who want to be here, who embody the right work habits, the right intensity, the right sense of urgency. We're going to continue to bring in players who represent the organization the right way."
He just let go of two of them. Like Anderson, Redick was ready to explore free agency and his projected price tag price didn't fit in the Magic's rebuilding blueprint.
Redick, 28, thought being traded was "tough, tough." Walking away from Milwaukee won't be easy either if the Bucks are doing their job and recruiting him. They need to do whatever they can – or whatever their budget allows – to keep Redick.
Milwaukee will have to push harder for Redick because it's, well, Milwaukee. It's not a slight. It's reality.
No NBA stars dream of playing in Wisconsin – unless they're from Oshkosh. Few are clamoring to become a Buck – not if they want to be perennial playoff contenders. Again, not a slight. It's reality of small-market life.
Redick wants to win now more than ever. The Chicago Bulls presented an offer sheet for him three years ago, and the Magic matched his 3-year, $19 million deal. Redick didn't want to leave Orlando that time either. But if he had to relocate, the Windy City and the Derrick Rose Bulls offered the postseason.
The Bulls could well be chasing Redick again. The rising Pacers might come calling. Another championship franchise, San Antonio, could be in the mix. (Coincidentally, Redick recently established another residence in Austin.)
Hard to tell how the money will flow this summer for free agents, especially after the new CBA's luxury-tax repercussions. But if the Bucks offered Redick an extra year more than the other suitors, Redick might have to decide whether to play for the cash or a contender.
As Redick often says about making decisions, there are "variables."
How will he fit in a Bucks' offense currently dominated by PG Brandon Jennings and starting SG Monta Ellis? Will Milwaukee ever become a perennial playoff team? Is Chelsea happy?
For the Redicks, it easily will be their biggest basketball decision.
If I'm the Bucks, I make a full-court press for J.J. They'd be lucky to have him.