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JJ Redick has agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a bit of a bomb on Sixers fans with an apparent pre-set tweet that went out at 6:00pm, at the start of free agency. The Duke alum has signed a two-year deal to join the New Orleans Pelicans. While Brett Brown has referred to Jimmy Butler as the “adult in the room,” deep down many Sixers’ fans knew that crown has always belonged to Redick, a gym-rat, a leader, and the consummate professional. He was never the best Sixer on the team, but he was in many ways reborn with Philadelphia, posting career highs in points per game in each of his two seasons with the team.

Redick’s play with Joel Embiid, in particular, was a potent combination, and he provided Brett Brown with the gravity he needed to run a “pace and space” offense. It’s hard to understand what to make of this yet, as we’re being bombarded with free agency bombshells by the minute here. It would allow the team a bit of wiggle-room as they avoid luxury taxes in the event they’re lucky enough to retain both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler. If they were to lose one of them, now without Redick’s sizable cap-hold, they will have a bit more spend to pursue alternatives, yet the best fits are flying off the board as I type this.

It’s the end of a mini era for a player who helped change the narrative in this town. Redick, who took a $21m dollar deal two summers ago, was the first big-name free agent to prioritize coming to the Sixers following the years of intentional losing known as “the process.” He was not the greatest defender for an 82 game season, but he did step his game up during the 2019 playoffs and made life harder for players like Eric Bledsoe, Joe Harris, and Danny Green.

We’ll soon learn if this was a move to avoid luxury taxes or a move that frees up a bit of cap-room for second or third tier names still on the market. I’m more sad than I expected to be. He was really fun to watch and it seems like a big surprise here. We’ll wish JJ well as he now gets to join Zion Williamson down in the bayou.

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