Ryan Anderson has a message for Orlando Magic fans now that he will be sent to the New Orleans Hornets in a sign-and-trade deal when the NBA moratorium period ends on Wednesday.
“I’d love to just give a thank you to everybody,” he said in a phone interview Sunday night with the Orlando Sentinel.
“I don’t know how else to do it, but it was literally a pleasure living in Orlando, being around the fans. They’re the best fans. Orlando’s always a place that, when I go and visit, it’ll be kind of like a second home. I loved it there. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Anderson spent Sunday night traveling from Sacramento to Orlando. (He had scheduled the trip well in advance.) I caught up with him over the phone as he waited to board a connecting flight in Salt Lake City.
“The only way to describe how I’m feeling is ‘an array of different emotions,’ ” he said. “I’m feeling a bit of shock. I’m feeling excitement. I’m feeling a bit of nervousness. Obviously, when you think about change, you automatically think about all the things that you’re going to miss.
“In Orlando, there’s so many amazing things and so many amazing people that I got to know. It was such a blessing to be there. But it’s a business, and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of an organization that’s rebuilding and that’s building up, and that could be really good. I think they have some great draft picks. They’re starting a trend where they can win, and that’s fun to me. I want to be a part of a team that can win.
“It’s all kind of still new to me. I’m still sort of trying to take everything in, but I feel blessed. But I also feel a bit of a ‘what just happened?’ kind of a thing. But I feel incredibly blessed.”
In 2009, Marcin Gortat signed an offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks for $34 million over five seasons. In 2010, J.J. Redick signed an offer sheet from the Chicago Bulls for $19 million over three seasons.
Gortat was prepared to go to Dallas. Redick was prepared to go to Chicago.
But the Magic — then in a win-now mode — matched both offers.
Anderson also was prepared to go to New Orleans when he decided he would sign an offer sheet from the Hornets worth about $36 million over four seasons. Turns out the Magic were not going to match and, therefore, decided to do a sign-and-trade deal in order to get an asset in return.
“You have to be prepared for all situations,” Anderson said. “When I was thinking of signing an offer sheet, I immediately was thinking, ‘I’m going to be in New Orleans. And if Orlando matches, then great, I’ll be in Orlando.’ . . .”
I asked Anderson if, when free agency began on July 1, he wanted to remain with the Magic.
“Yeah, I love the city,” he answered.
“Obviously, since the end of the season the organization has completely changed things up. I didn’t have a whole lot of clarity with what was going to happen with my situation. I thought that there was a good chance that I could end up back in Orlando. But, at the same time, I wanted to get the most out of this experience. I wanted to be able to play out every option I possibly could.
“For me, it just worked out a little bit different than what I had planned and what my agents had planned. But, at the end of the day, there was obviously a clear option that this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Anderson said he found out for sure that the Magic were going to do a sign-and-trade Saturday night.
He said he’s looking forward to playing for coach Monty Williams.
“I think that this is a team that definitely has some pieces to do some pretty special things, and I’m excited to be a part of a team that’s heading towards a positive future,” Anderson said. “I’m excited for that.”