It’s been a weird week for point guard Luke Ridnour. The 12-year NBA veteran has been traded four times since June 24, with three of those deals coming within a 25-hour span. His metaphysical journey from the Magic to the Grizzlies to the Hornets to the Thunder to the Raptors is a result of a non-guaranteed contract that expires on July 10. This means that if a team were to waive him on or before that date, they would owe him nothing. But in trading him, they clear the value of his contract ($2.75 million) in cap space.
Why would a team take him on? In some ways, it’s like a game of hot potato, with each successive suitor hoping to offload him in turn. When the music stops, he’ll be waived and become a free agent. But whatever team has him at the time is not wholly unlucky; they would likely have engineered some measure in the deal that would benefit them either way.
Obviously, the Internet thinks this is very funny: He replaces Tom Hanks on the poster for The Terminal; he’s Waldo of Where’s Waldo?; he’s a news program’s PSA: It’s 10 p.m., do you know where Luke Ridnour is? Luckily for Ridnour, the imaginary whirlwind ends next Friday. In the meantime, Rolling Stone caught up with him to find out his state of mind. From the sound of it, he’s calm as a slow summer day.
How are you doing?
Good, it’s been a great summer. It’s good to be home after the whole season away. It’s been great, just hanging out.
How do you feel about all these trades?
I’m taking it lightheartedly. Friends are sending me pics and stuff, of me going all over the country. They told me I was trending. I’ve never been trending before.
Where are you right now?
On a lake, about 30 minutes outside of Seattle. It’s called Sammamish.
What were you doing when all these deals were happening?
Well, I have four boys, all under six, so I was just running around with them. We go swimming, bass fishing. Take the boat out for wake surfing.
They’ve got great names. It’s Tredon, Beckett, Kyson and Ryker, right?
Thanks. Yeah. That’s my wife.
Speaking of Beckett, this is kind of like Waiting for Godot. You’ve heard tell of these so-called trades, but for you, in reality, nothing happens.
Yeah. There’s nothing happening.
What does your wife think about this?
She thinks it’s funny. My mom sent me an article about it. She thinks it’s pretty funny too.
Do you feel unloved?
[Laughs] No. As my agent said, they’re trading your contract, not you.
What was the shortest time between two trades?
I don’t know. Some came and went. I’m out here on the lake, so I don’t always pick up the phone.
So there were times you were traded and didn’t even know you had been on a different team in between?
Yeah. We knew this could happen. My contract is an attractive trade piece.
What’s the over/under on this happening again?
I don’t know, I could see it happening a bunch more times before July 10.
Any specific place you’d like to land?
I still have to decide whether or not I’m playing next year, so I’m not sure. If this had been happening earlier in my career, four or five years ago, I might have been worried. But not now.