Redick, still stuck on bench, likely won't be traded

2/5/2008 - NBA J.J. Redick Orlando Magic + more

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is convinced one of the league's most popular players is buried on his bench.

"I get asked more questions about J.J. Redick than I do about Hedo Turkoglu, Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis," Van Gundy said Tuesday, comparing the former Duke star to his top three scorers. "I'm not surprised by it. I know where it comes from."

It comes from the fact that Redick, the No. 11 pick in the 2006 draft, has scarcely been off Van Gundy's bench. Or Brian Hill's, the year before.

The former Duke star has appeared in only 20 of Orlando's 50 games this year, averaging 8.3 minutes and 3.7 points. Last year he played in 42 games, most of it garbage time.

Redick and agent Arn Tellem went public last week with his frustration, asking to get more minutes or be traded. The all-time college 3-point leader and second-best NCAA free throw shooter in history, Redick said he still wants to play for Orlando. But more than that, he just wants to play.

Unfortunately for him, the Magic say he won't get more minutes or a ticket out of town before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Part of the problem is the Magic say they really like Redick, and don't want him playing for anyone else. Van Gundy gushes about how hard he practices, and says Redick's attitude hasn't soured despite the trade request.

Another problem is that three guards ahead of him -- Carlos Arroyo, Keyon Dooling and Maurice Evans -- have expiring contracts, and the Magic want to keep Redick in pocket.

"He is a damn good player," Van Gundy said.

The Magic coach said Redick's college popularity muddies the issue to outsiders. To Orlando, he's a promising second-year player on a successful, guard-rich team. Arroyo, Dooling, Jameer Nelson and Evans are more seasoned and complete than the sharp-shooting Redick, so they get almost all the minutes.

But to fans who saw Redick in college, it doesn't make sense.

"It's obviously a tough situation. It's tough for anybody who's having to sit on the bench, but I think it's even tougher," Van Gundy said. "People say, 'Well, this is a lottery pick.' Well, there's a lot of lottery picks sitting on the bench. Jermaine O'Neal sat for six years, you know? And then became an All-Star."

"[Redick] stayed in college, became a big name in the most recognizable program, or one of them, in the country," Van Gundy said. "And so he's not even like other lottery picks. There's so much scrutiny in everything on him."