Basketball

Trading frenzy sends Ridnour to NBA retirement with a smile

Video: Luke Ridnour holds annual basketball camp

Professional basketball player Luke Ridnour holds his annual Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp at Blaine High School Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
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Professional basketball player Luke Ridnour holds his annual Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp at Blaine High School Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Former Blaine basketball standout Luke Ridnour admits he found the NBA offseason last summer quite humorous.

On June 24, Ridnour was traded by the Orlando Magic to the Memphis Grizzlies in a move to clear cap space. A day later, the Grizzlies traded the 6-foot-2 guard to the Charlotte Hornets, who turned around and traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Five days later, he was dealt to the Toronto Raptors, who released him on July 9.

Ridnour ended up sitting out the 2015-16 NBA season and ultimately announced his plans to retire on Tuesday, June 21, while discussing the third annual Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp he will host July 27-29 at Blaine High School.

“I’m retired,” said Ridnour, who helped lead Blaine to 1999 and 2000 Class 2A high school state titles before playing collegiately at the University of Oregon. “I’m not going to go back. I think I knew it last summer, I just didn’t say it.”

Ridnour said he has yet to file his formal retirement paperwork with the league office, but he plans to do so “pretty soon.”

Once he does, it will officially bring to an end a 12-year career that saw Ridnour average 9.3 points, 4.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 830 career games playing for Seattle, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Charlotte and Orlando. And let’s not forget about last summer’s saga, that saw him traded four times in six days.

“Honestly, I think I’d pretty much made my decision before that,” Ridnour said of the summer transaction flurry. “It was funny to watch all the people get pumped up and write about it and all the craziness of those couple days.”

Ridnour said he much preferred the time he got to spend with family to “playing basketball everywhere around the world,” though he admitted he hasn’t done a whole lot since playing his last game for Orlando.

0622 Ridnour graphic online

“At a certain point, it’s nice to be home and live a normal life with your family,” Ridnour said. “I missed spending time with them for so long, and I got to sit back and enjoy it. I missed bits and pieces of playing, especially some of the people and the competition, but overall, It was fun to be home, and I’m excited to be home more in the future.”

Where Ridnour calls home may soon change, as he said he and his family plan to move back to Whatcom County from their current home in the Seattle area.

Though he’s done playing basketball professionally, Ridnour said he’s not done with the sport he learned from his father, Rob. Along with speaking at colleges, Ridnour said he plans to continue coaching youth basketball — part of the reason he’s looking forward to this summer’s camp in Blaine.

“It’s been fun running that camp,” Ridnour said. “We do it for the younger kids. ... It’s fun watching them come back the next year and seeing how they’ve grown and gotten better.”

And it’s been fun for Whatcom County to watch one of its own realize such success on basketball’s top level.

After he averaged 14.6 points and 5.2 assists per game in three years at Oregon, the Seattle SuperSonics selected Ridnour with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

He played five seasons in Seattle, highlighted in 2004-05, when he started all 82 regular-season games and averaged 10.0 points per game to help the Sonics reach the playoffs. He also made the NBA Playoffs in 2010 with Milwaukee and 2014 with Charlotte.

“For me, it was about the people I got to meet and influence and be around during my career,” Ridnour said. “I thank God for getting to play professionally for 12 years. I probably could have played a couple more, but for me, it was time to be home.”

Professional basketball player Luke Ridnour holds his annual Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp at Blaine High School Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Luke Ridnour Basketball Camp

When: July 27-29

Where: Blaine High School

Session 1: For players 6-8, runs from 9-10 a.m. each day, costs $50

Session 2: For players 9-12, runs 10:30 a.m. to noon each day, costs $75

Proceeds: Ridnour said money raised will be donated back to the community. In 2014, the camp helped pay for a gym at the Boys & Girls Club in Blaine, and last year it went toward putting up some new hoops at a school in Blaine.

Information: lukeridnourbasketballcamp.com

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