The Orlando Magic introduced free-agent signee Quentin Richardson today, fresh off signing a four-year deal with a player option on the final season. Magic GM Otis Smith, employing a baseball metaphor, termed the signing "a single" for the franchise, and said, "our objective is to keep hitting singles." The highlights from his news conference at RDV SportsPlex:
Richardson playing for a winner "is my primary objective," and though he declined to name which other teams bid for his services, he said "they were all contenders and teams that are in position to compete for a title."
Richardson considered returning to the Miami Heat, for whom he played last season, but said Orlando "is the best situation for me. And I feel like we have just as good a chance as they do to win the championship." Later, he said he knew he would not return once LeBron James announced his decision to join the Heat last Thursday "due to their salary cap."
When asked if playing for the Magic's three-point-happy offense appealed to him, Richardson smiled sheepishly, stared at the ground, and said, "I think so. I could get used to that."
Richardson said that he didn't want to hear anything from his agent this summer "until he got some offers." He continued, "the first time I talked to him about Orlando was last week, and we began discussing different situations and different things like that. From that point, especially after the 'LeBron Decision,' or whatever, things happened pretty quickly for me."
He used air quotes when he said "LeBron Decision," which drew chuckles from the assembled media.
Richardson said he's spoken to Magic coach Stan Van Gundy since coming aboard, but he declined to elaborate on what the two discussed. "I'll just leave that between myself and him," he said.
More quotes after the jump, including Smith's comments about deciding whether or not to match the Chicago Bulls' offer sheet to J.J. Redick.
He clarified that Magic center Dwight Howard, not the green light he'll have from three-point range, is the biggest draw: "The biggest thing is they got the big fella in the middle. He's the one guy that nobody can really match up with in the league."
Richardson said Howard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will help his defense. "This will be probably one of my favorite years to play because [Howard] allows me to be more aggressive and do some different things as far as pushing up on people." Later, he added, "I know I got the Terminator back there" to clean up his mistakes, if he makes them.
Richardson has a prior relationship with new Magic point guard Chris Duhon from their season together with the New York Knicks in 2008/09. He's also known Rashard Lewis "since high school, playin' at camps, and all that."
He formed a new relationship with team co-captain Jameer Nelson, who contacted him yesterday once he learned Richardson signed. "Once I made a decision, Jameer contacted me yesterday, and then we were talkin' back and forth about his thing he does with the team." He's referring to Nelson's annual team-building exercise, Building Magic, which he hosts in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Richardson didn't have a jersey on hand for the media session, but he told me he'll wear no. 5.
On a different note, Smith said he has yet to make a decision about Redick's offer sheet from the Bulls. If he matches, Redick returns to Orlando on a front-loaded, three-year deal worth $19 million. If he doesn't match, Redick moves to the Windy City. Smith said team chairman Rich DeVos and president/C.E.O. Bob Vander Weide "up in Grand Rapids" will play a key role in making that decision, as it has luxury tax implications. "You have to get a little bit of insight from [ownership]," which he said "is heavily involved" in every major decision.