For the legions of Sixers fans out there hoping the team would Run It Back heading into this summer’s free agency, dreams were immediately dashed when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski kicked things off by announcing JJ Redick had agreed to a 2-year deal with the Pelicans.
Free agent guard JJ Redick has agreed to a two-year, $26.5M deal to join the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
Though the Sixers ultimately did an admirable job retooling and enter the 2019-20 season as one of the favorites to emerge out of the Eastern Conference, the team will certainly miss the floor spacing and veteran leadership Redick provided during his two seasons in Philadelphia. On the latest episode of The JJ Redick Podcast, we heard from JJ for the first time on what went into his thought process to leave Philadelphia for New Orleans, what he thinks of the new-look Sixers, and how Not On Social Media became a lie.
Apparently even NBA players are mystified by Woj:
“Woj tweeted out at 6:00pm that I was going to New Orleans on that deal. And it’s crazy, I hadn’t even called New Orleans yet.”
Fairly obviously, it seemed like things ultimately boiled down to the “economics of things” for JJ, i.e. money:
“I thought for sure I would retire in Philly. I thought that. And that was even a conversation that I had with Josh Harris. Sometimes the economics of things don’t work out. Even prior to those conversations, like when I heard that New Orleans might be a possibility, there was a genuine excitement that I had about this. This was not me just, like, oh I’m gonna take whatever money.”
Redick said he reached out to former Sixer, current Pelican Jrue Holiday, who he did not have a prior relationship with but considers one of his favorite players in the NBA. He cited playing alongside Jrue, along with Zion and the young guys as big factors in his decision. Redick also jokingly called New Orleans “Duke South”. Besides JJ, the Pelicans have former Blue Devils Frank Jackson, Jahlil Okafor, Zion, and Brandon Ingram, along with Trajan Langdon in the front office.
Having commuted to Philadelphia from his Brooklyn home for two years, Redick discussed how hard it would be to uproot his family:
“The pay is a huge component, and the basketball fit is a huge component. For me, it’s like, do I want to uproot my family, first of all. That was a long discussion with [his wife] Chelsea. Even leading up to it, I said, look, there’s a chance. I’d heard for a long time Brooklyn had a really good chance to get those guys, right, and so I knew there wasn’t gonna be, sort of, money there for Brooklyn. And if Brooklyn got those guys, and the Knicks didn’t, then I didn’t necessarily want to go to the Knicks. And so there’s three teams where I get to live in my apartment in Brooklyn. And I told her, there’s a chance that’s just not gonna be a possibility…So that was a hard thing to do. But yeah, the basketball fit, and you know, securing the bag, man. Got to secure the bag. (chuckles)”
The true shocker of the podcast came when JJ, who famously cut himself off from all froms of social media, revealed that he used an old Gmail account to create a burner account on Twitter to follow all the free agency stuff for about six days. Redick said he followed around five people, mentioning Woj, Chris Haynes, Ramona, and Shams. He said Twitter assigned him a name like “Samuel Johnson, but with an E for Johnsen.” He thinks he deactivated the account.
Like many others, Redick thinks the retooled Sixers are going to be a force in the Eastern Conference this season:
“I think they’re gonna be big. I think they’re gonna be really big. I like how they’ve built the team. There’s a lot of depth, I think. There’s a lot of different ways they’ll be able to play…They’re gonna figure out a way to get basically Al being the backup five. And the fact that you can get from Joel to Al, where I think Al is probably better at five anyways, I mean, that’s tough. To get 48 minutes of those two guys at the five is tough. And I love Josh Richardson. I think he’s great.”
“That team is huge, man. And I think getting Mike and James back is great. Those guys were so good. They’ll miss Jimmy. Jimmy, especially down the stretch of games, he won us a lot of games.”
“I think them and Milwaukee are the favorites in the East for sure.”
Be sure to give the full podcast a listen for all the great stuff not related to the Sixers. Best of luck in New Orleans, JJ. I hope you can eat at Cochon to your heart’s content.