As a free agent, J-Rich has reached a critical point in his career: Does he sign with a team that can pay him the most money or take less to play with a contender?
Obviously, he would love to have the best of both worlds. He might be able to find that with the Chicago Bulls, who are in need of a quality starting shooting guard.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Jason Richardson the difference between the Chicago Bulls winning and losing the Eastern Conference?
The answer: at best, a maybe. Sure, Richardson is talented. Sure, he has range. Sure, he’s arguably the top free agent shooting-guard. And sure, the Bulls need a scorer.
Richardson is 31-years old, though. While still solid, he was deemed expendable by the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats, and Phoenix Suns. His latest club, the Orlando Magic, have little interest in extending him.
A large part of this had to do with money. Charlotte and Phoenix, two smaller markets, had trouble swallowing Richardson’s big-ticket. For financial reasons, they cut ties.
A large part of this had to with skill. More and more, Richardson stopped using his athleticism to attack and defend, and seemed content on shooting three-pointers.
Who knows what role the off-court stuff played? Richardson was charged with Driving Under the Influence and reckless driving. Of course, there was also this.
Richardson is a risk. His value on the open market will be hard to gauge because of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Chicago should ask Richardson for a contender discount. If he refuses, they should look elsewhere for their difference-maker.
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