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NBA Free Agency: Does J.J. Redick make sense for the Sixers?

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Redick makes sense from an on-court perspective, but too many other factors make it unlikely for him to sign in Philadelphia.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick has certainly passed Kyle Lowry as the soon-to-be free agent most frequently linked to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Back in May, Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned that Redick, a correspondent on Woj’s The Vertical podcast network, could quite possibly land with the Sixers. Just two days ago, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor spoke to league sources who believed the Sixers and Brooklyn Nets were planning on making a “hard push” for the 33-year-old sharpshooter. While it was rumored that Redick could return to the Clippers, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has said that won’t be happening now that the team has traded Chris Paul.

The Sixers have the most cap space in the NBA, giving them the option of being the league’s most financially liberal team this summer. But to convince Reidck to play in Philadelphia, it’s going to cost them a serious chunk of change to get a 33-year-old— who just spent the past four seasons on a serious contender—to value money over winning a title. Reports from Wojnarowski and O’Connor have indicated his services will fall in the $16-20 million a year range.

The cost is obviously steep, but quality three-point shooting is at a premium in today’s NBA, and Redick has stuck around in the NBA for 10 years because he’s an absolute deadeye. In 78 games with the Clippers last season, Redick averaged 15.0 points while shooting 42.9 percent from three on 6.0 attempts per game, a couple ticks above his career average of 41.5 percent. Redick’s also just two years removed from a career-best season in points per game (16.3), field goal percentage (48 percent) and three-point percentage (47.5 percent).

Philadelphia could obviously use some help in the perimeter shooting department. They were seventh in the NBA in three-point attempts per game with 29.8, but tied for 24th in three-point shooting percentage at 34 percent.

The composition of the Sixers roster would allow Redick to shine similarly to how he did with the Clippers. Redick is used to playing with a pick-and-roll maestro in Chris Paul, an athletic big man with a rare skill set of ball handling, scoring, and passing in Blake Griffin and a lob threat in DeAndre Jordan. The Sixers obviously don’t have the same amount of proven entities as the Clippers did, but every major piece of the Sixers young core fits that same description. Fultz operated out of the pick-and-roll at a high level, displaying a certain poise and understanding that’s rare for someone his age. Simmons is a more advanced ball handler/creator than Griffin is -- although we’ve never seen Griffin unleashed in the way we’re expecting Simmons to be -- and would mirror his effectiveness as a roll man as well. Embiid can also be a lob threat in the pick-and-roll, but his game is so much more advanced than that of Jordan it opens up so many more opportunities for the Sixers that the Clippers simply never had.

Essentially, Philadelphia has three high-level offensive talents that will attract the attention of defenses, which should provide Redick with the space necessary to get clean looks from beyond the arc. We’ve yet to see head coach Brett Brown tap into any real arsenal of plays yet, but the addition of Redick would allow for Brown to expand the playbook. Redick’s a tireless worker off ball who’s used to running through a maze of screens and dribble handoffs before connecting on quick catch-and-shoot threes. He also fits the Sixers uptempo system, averaging 1.3 points per possession in transition and shooting 52 percent from the field (per SportVU) in transition situations with the Clippers last year.

It’s easy to envision Redick thriving in the Sixers offense, but there are other factors that could complicate a potential relationship. Fultz will play off ball in some situations. Jerryd Bayless, who missed almost all of last season with a wrist injury, has proven to be a consistent three-point shooter that can also play both guard spots. Nik Stauskas is coming off a season where he seemed to regain some of his lost confidence, and shot a career-best 36.8 percent from three.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot also needs to be factored into the equation as well. He improved every single month over the course of his rookie year, and from all indications the Sixers really love with him. Bringing in Redick would also inhibit the progression of Luwawu-Cabarrot, who should see his role expanding, not being marginalized. The aforementioned guards (with the exception of Fultz) don’t match or surpass Redick’s talent, but none of them make any sense to move on from at this juncture, either.

The Sixers are still in the evaluation period with every single one of them. This is the first year they’ll be on a legitimately competitive NBA roster with some superstar-caliber players. It’s probably worth waiting to see how the likes of Fultz, Simmons and Embiid impact players like Bayless and Stauskas before dropping a line into the free agent waters and trying to reel in a big fish. Those two can certainly benefit from the looks created by Fultz and Simmons just as much as Redick would. As would Robert Covington, whose struggled to get open looks over the years. Factor in Fultz’s own quality three-point shooting, as well as Embiid’s, and Philadelphia may have some in-house options for improving in the three-point shooting department.

Bryan Colangelo has made it clear that his free agent spending will align with how ready he believes the team’s youthful core is, and he’s willing to wait until the time is right to make a splash. Given how much experimentation this Sixers team will go through as Simmons and Fultz try to adjust to the NBA game, they don’t appear ready to make a move of that caliber just yet.

There’s also the question of how much of a longterm commitment it would take to wrangle Redick. A three or four-year deal for Redick in that $20 million a year range would deplete the team of cap space when they actually need it down the line, especially given the fact that most of their young stars will need or will have recently received received large extensions. The Sixers cap space is a fantastic advantage most other teams don’t have, but it needs to be allocated properly, and spending a chunk of it on Redick before even knowing how the young pieces fit together seems short-sighted.

Redick would be a great get for the Sixers if this were the summer of 2019, not 2017. The franchise simply isn’t in a position to be throwing big money at a luxury type player at this stage in their progression, although they’ll certainly be headed in that direction if everything goes according to plan this year.

Philadelphia will continue to be tied to Redick when free agency opens up on July 1. They’ll provide his agent with fantastic leverage when negotiating with other teams. But it would be a real surprise if Redick ends up donning a Sixers uniform come October.