The Orlando Magic sent Quentin Richardson packing on Saturday as they announced they had placed the 12-year veteran on waivers. Unless another team claims the 32-year-old swingman, Richardson's salary will count against the Magic's cap figure for the next two seasons.
Richardson isn't quite a cult figure in Orlando, but he earned fans' respect over his two years in pinstripes with his positive attitude--who can forget his air-guitar celebrations from the bench?--and approach to the game. This is a guy who signed with Orlando as a free agent in 2010 expecting to start at small forward for a championship-contending team; less than two months into that first season, then-general manager Otis Smith pulled the trigger on two trades which moved Richardson to the back of the rotation. Fast-forward to the end of the 2011/12 season and Richardson was playing situational minutes as a defensive specialist for a team which won a single playoff game.
But Q didn't complain. Not once, not even in the immediate aftermath of those December trades. And Saturday, he took the time to say thanks to Orlando fans and ownership, via Twitter. He also expressed his support for rookie swingman DeQuan Jones, whose strong showing in the exhibition season may have sealed the end of Richardson's days in Magic blue.
Richardson is, by all accounts, a terrific teammate, and I'm comfortable saying he's the best NBAer with whom I've ever had the privilege of shooting the breeze in the locker room. His departure from the Magic is as good a time as any to revisit his story about the New York Knicks being dramatically shorthanded for one game during his time there, and his thoughts on the sport's positional revolution. "The wing is the wing," he said then.