Beno Udrih was shipped from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that sent guard J.J. Redick in the opposite direction. But unlike the other two pieces that were shipped from Milwaukee, youngsters Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb, Udrih's future with Orlando isn't so clear.
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Udrih has a $7.4 million salary that expires after this season. While Harris and Lamb are locked into their rookie deals through next season and are trade assets or players to develop, the 30-year-old point guard could be viewed simply as a salary that will be off the books next season.
However, Udrih immediately is a solid piece. Averaging 6.7 points and 3.5 assists per game in 18 minutes as a backup, the Yugoslavian point guard will shore up Orlando's offense as a consistent floor general. Along with Redick, the Magic shipped off point guard Ish Smith and big man Gustavo Ayon to the Bucks, leaving an already hurting backcourt in need of such consistency.
While head coach Jacque Vaughn has point guard Jameer Nelson left on the roster, a strained patella tendon in Nelson's knee has him questionable for the time being. Nelson has missed 11 of Orlando's 54 games this year because of various injuries.
So Udrih is now insurance to keep the team somewhat afloat. The Magic have lost 15 of their last 16 games, and the veteran point guard's savvy will be a calming thing for Vaughn's team during a frustrating rebuilding mode. Udrih doesn't shoot very well beyond the arc (26.5 percent), but he shoots 47.5 percent from the field, taking what he's given.
As a point guard, Udrih had the highest assist percentage on his Bucks team, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Though that may not be saying much when compared to shot-happy guards like Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis, it's something the Magic will soon lean upon.
In the short-term, Udrih gives Orlando help behind a banged-up Nelson and with E'Twaun Moore likely getting more time at the shooting guard spot in place of the big hole left by Redick's departure. And in the long term, the contract will come off the books for the next few offseasons in addition to giving the Magic two young players to develop.
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