Author: Josh Robbins
Magic beat writer
The Orlando Magic have waived wing Quentin Richardson, combo forward Justin Harper and wing Chris Johnson.
The moves bring the team's roster down to 15 players, ahead of the NBA-mandated 5 p.m. Monday deadline. It also means that wing DeQuan Jones, an undrafted rookie and former Miami Hurricanes player, made the regular-season roster.
Richardson, 32, didn't fit into the Magic's long-term plans, and he didn't play in Orlando's final four preseason games. General manager Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn informed him of the news this morning in a meeting at Amway Center.
“Actually, Rob did a great job just getting outfront and being open and everything,” Richardson told the Orlando Sentinel by phone. “So it wasn’t something that blindsided me. He kept in constant communication with my agent, Jeff Wechsler. I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for the way Rob handled everything.
“I’ve been around long enough to know it was definitely a possibility, and I just appreciate the way Rob handled it. From Day One, I just wanted him to be honest and open with me, and that’s how he handled it. So I have no ill feelings about it.”
Cutting Richardson comes at a hefty financial cost for the Magic, who will owe him $2.6 million this season and $2.8 million next season unless another team claims him off waivers within 48 hours, which seems unlikely given his age and recent on-court production.
“When we started the transition period over the summer,” Hennigan said, “we said to ourselves we want to evaluate everything, and we want to make sure that we judge our players based on the work they put in and the merit that comes with that.
“All throughout the preseason, we evaluated everything, and we made the decision that, yeah, financially we’re going to have to make a decision that impacts us in that way. But we feel that the decision was for the organization and the culture we want to start to set.”
Orlando acquired Harper, 23, during the 2011 draft.
Originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, the Magic gave up a second-round pick in 2013 and a second-round pick in 2014 for his draft rights. Harper's salary of about $760,000 for this season is fully guaranteed and will, like Richardson's salary, count against Orlando's cap figure unless he's claimed off waivers.
Johnson, 22, an Orlando native, was signed to a make-good contract Oct. 9 to give the team depth in practice and during the preseason.
Richardson has played 12 NBA seasons, and he said Hennigan contacted Wechsler about a week ago to give Wechsler a heads-up that the Magic were leaning toward waiving him.
Richardson hopes to keep playing.
“Even right now, as we speak, my Twitter is being flooded with just thank yous and people sad to see me go,” he said. “I have so much appreciation for the fans and the way they’ve received me. This is my 13th year in the league and I absolutely understand the way things go, and I know they’re in a rebuilding period.
“I don’t have any particular choices right now, but obviously I’d like to be a on a playoff team or a contending team or a situation where I can help. But I’m a pro and whatever comes, I’m going to put my best foot forward and bring my best to the team, wherever I go.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.