It sounds like former 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Cam Reddish, is banished from Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks rotation. And rumors are that the Atlantic rival may be open to trade. SB Nation’s Russel Richardson dropped the full skinny on this topic for Posting & Toasting recently.
So should the Sixers explore a swap here for the Norristown, Pennsylvania native? A source previously told Liberty Ballers the Sixers weren’t interest in Reddish; but could it be possible things have since changed with rumors the Knicks are basically having a yard sale?
Let’s dig in.
The price might just be right
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, on his show ‘The PutBack,’ Begley doesn’t envision a scenario where Cam (who hasn’t logged a minute since Dec. 3rd, 2022) gets back onto the floor for Thibs... in fact he thinks “there’s no indication at all that he even is going to see garbage time minutes over the next couple of weeks.”
"I don't envision a situation where Cam Reddish is going to be playing with this team."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 10, 2023
We talked last week about Reddish, why thinking about Julius Randle trades is - most likely - a waste of time & more on The Putback w/guests @SBondyNYDN & @JCMacriNBA: https://t.co/f1Jzcn98mC pic.twitter.com/5Fyyhc4XbM
Begley’s guest, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, hints of real tension between Reddish and Thibs, and Bondy doesn’t see any way the team recoups the first-round draft pick value Knicks President Leon Rose parted with in order to bring Reddish over from Atlanta a season ago. But he adds Reddish’s camp is working with New York, trying to facilitate a trade to a team would actually, y’know, play him.
Jonathan Macri, of Knicks Film School, appears on the same clip above and adds that he thinks the Blue and Orange might eye a second-rounder somewhere “in the 40’s,” or look to use Reddish as a sweetener to “grease the skids” on a larger deal moving larger, unwanted contracts.
More, according to Michael Scotto for HoopsHype:
“The Knicks are willing to part with Reddish for two second-round picks, league sources told HoopsHype. The Lakers, Bucks, and other teams have inquired about the asking price for Reddish, who was shooting a career-high 44.9 percent from the field before being benched, HoopsHype has learned.”
And it sounds like the disconnect between Rose and Thibodeau’s view of Reddish goes back a ways — the tension between Reddish and Thibs as well — and may have hit a head one night when Thibs played everyone on the roster except for the former Blue Devil, “humiliating” him, per Marc Berman. Something Thibs did to Austin Rivers once in the past as well, Berman adds.
So with things not working out in The Big Apple, with Cam banished from the rotation, if the price is truly this low, if the rival Bucks are sniffing around, then Sixers Prez Daryl Morey and GM Elton Brand can’t not at least call the Knicks here, right?
The dude once hit six triples in a Conference Finals game before he turned 22!
Cam Reddish is also the 2nd 21-year old to make six 3-pt FG in a Conf/Div Finals game joining Kobe Bryant in 2000 pic.twitter.com/0Gxb2On18A— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 4, 2021
I mean... a 23 year-old lottery pick, who maybe just hasn’t found his way yet, one who occasionally offers some tantalizing ranginess and bounciness? There’s a 3-and-D player in there somewhere, right?
Dawg JTA hasn’t done any of this for the Lakers don’t tell me Cam can’t contribute next to Bron & even Russ— Coach James (@JamesEdrick3) January 10, 2023
The Sixers have a second-round pick right now that’s projected by Fivethirtyeight.com to be 34th overall from Charlotte. They have another one a few years out as well, after losing a couple for tampering. The Knicks were docked for that as well, which is why they might look to restock. Would that Charlotte pick and a similarly salaried player or two get this done? Should the Sixers even consider this? They have guys like Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle who are in Reddish’s $5.9M salary ballpark.
The opportunity cost is obviously, what you’d pay (if Reddish wasn’t part of Doc’s rotation, then a pick in the low 30’s would be pretty enticing in draft day trades, or if first-round talent dropped to say Draymond Green range). But also the alternative deals they’d be leaving on the table. Who else could they get for a similar price? Is Jae Crowder available? Is that better?
Warts and all
I guess it wouldn’t be completely unfair to say he’s been a bust and doesn’t do much at a high level at this point in the 23-year-old’s now four-year career. Per DunksandThrees, his estimated +- is a negative 2.5, the 299th ranked player in the league.
He’s a bigger negative on offense than he is on defense:
Cam is officially a worse career three point shooter than Thybulle now lol https://t.co/w9Dzp6dSZn— Subscribe to the You Know Ball Patreon (@TrillBroDude) January 10, 2023
But at 6-foot-8, and a sturdy 217 lbs, with a condor-like 7-1 wingspan, you can’t not be a bit intrigued when your team should be hunting for wings who can play both ends, and inject some much needed athleticism and youth, right? What if he actually breaks out at some point, too? Wouldn’t that be a major win for the Sixers trajectory spanning Embiid’s prime?
Surrounding slower paced and older vets like Harden and Embiid with several explosive guards or wings like Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton and Reddish (especially if the pending free agent stuck around beyond 2023) doesn’t sound like the worst way to keep the tempo from lagging in the years ahead.
The Sixers best defensive options for opposing wings has a void.
I’m not saying you can just plug in Reddish and ask him to check Jayson Tatum in a Game 1 of the Conference Finals. But could he help a bench unit that’s currently asking the likes of Shake Milton to guard Paul George in spurts?
Sixers fans got to see some of Cam’s length on defense when he closed a Nov. 4 game vs. a Maxey-led Sixers. The Knicks rattled off a 19-5 run to steal one in Philly, and Cam spent a fair amount of time on Maxey down the stretch run.
Here’s some blocks and steals by the former five-star high school recruit out of Westtown High in West Chester, Pennsylvania:
Above, you’ll see him use some feline quickness and long arms to pick off Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, bug Maxey, rip Jaylen Brown, snag passes away from both Draymond Green and Steph Curry, spike a sure fire Evan Mobley jam into the wood, strip Jayson Tatum, fling an SGA scoop into the third row with his left hand, block a Lauri Markannen dunk, and strip Jamal Murray from behind. He’s raw for sure, but this stuff isn’t nothing.
His passing lane leaps jump off the film the most and he’s shown a willingness to put defense first in order to get playing time. Offense comes to him naturally if he doesn’t try to do too much, which he often does. But there’s plenty to work with.
Cam’s shooting hasn’t been good. You’ve seen the percentages, sporting crummy 39-32-84 splits. Digging deeper, he’s connected on 156 of 464 (33.6%) career catch-and-shoot threes. That’s the one the 76ers would need him to be able to drill in order to stay on the floor. On the bright side, he’s an 84.4 percent free throw shooter, so it’s not like his shot looks totally busted. He needlessly craters his own percentage by taking totally contested shots. But what if he learned to limit that or found a better situation?
There’s an ever so slight lack of smoothness when he brings the ball back towards his head for a nanosecond, and he doesn’t fully extend his shooting arm. The latter to me is probably his biggest issue:
This season, his small sample shot chart shows he’s perhaps respectable in that left baseline corner, which is pretty much where Beard would want him to spot up, anyways:
To my eye, with his feet set, in a corner, he tends to get significantly more arc under his ball, is far less likely to miss well short, and those are his cleanest makes.
But I’m not gonna lie, when I dove into some film, and looked at his shot selection, I found myself muttering phrases like “weirdly ambitious” and “problematically casual.” A few times, I had to check the shot clock to see if he had to force one up, only to see he in fact did so all on his own.
At times, Reddish reminded me of that dude at a pickup game who seems more interested in working on absurdly difficult moves rather than just playing to win. You know the guy I mean. Did his agent tell him to build a highlight reel of step backs so he can help him get traded or something?
Then at other times I’m like ‘whoa, how is it possible some team might get this guy with such clear physical tools for so little in assets?!’
It’s a true mixed bag, with more bad than good to date, unless you see flashes of a player primed for exponential development one day:
We learned that team Owner Josh Harris and co. may want to duck the luxury tax, and they’d only have to shed a little over a mil to reset that and dodge some repeater fees.
Morey could try to make the bosses happy and duck the tax, while also saving roughly a $650,000 vet min spot for a buyout candidate too. If he did, they’d want to save about $1,822,998 in any trade.
With that in mind... you don’t get too many options here.
Furkan Korkmaz makes $5M, Thybulle $4.3M, Danuel House Jr. $4.1M, Montrezl Harrell $2.4M, Jaden Springer $2.1, and Paul Reed $1.78M.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports notes that guys like Korkmaz, Thybulle, and Springer in particular could be moved to help the team save money.
The good news is that any team that trades for Cam would also get his Bird Rights, so they could try to work something out long term this summer. (There’s almost no way they’d get him in free agency next summer if they didn’t trade for him). What’s the pitch, something like “three-and-d for now, on a contender, near where you grew up, with room to grow one day if Tobias Harris moves on?”
Reddish makes almost $1M more than Furk, so they would be ~$2.1M over the tax line if they traded Korkmaz (not part of the regular rotation) for him straight up. But if they also included one of Thybulle, Georges Niang, or Danuel House they could skirt tax and maintain buyout space as well. Or they could just do Furk and a couple second-rounders, and look to duck the tax some other way. (But I also have a hard time buying the Knicks would want Korkmaz’s money on their books next year).
Thybulle deserves more playing time so adding him along with Furk seems like a high price for a team supposedly seeking just two second-rounders. Niang, who is shooting the lights out does too. But House? He hasn’t exactly been indispensable. Nab a guy about as good as House or better, with the chance to grow into much more?
Hmmm... I know Harden took a pay cut to help lure his friend, but that’s a good deal. I’d even kick in that Hornets pick. There’s not no chance that Reddish doesn’t figure things out, right?
They could do this and then burn sage that Eric Gordon gets bought out for that other spot.
If Doc Rivers told you he’s absolutely done playing Paul Reed and Jaden Springer (and you’re not ready to move on from Doc) you could package Korkmaz, Springer, and Reed and accomplish all of those other tax and buyout goals too. But that makes me gag. I’d suggest including Harrell, but he seems to be cemented in Rivers’ rotation right now.
The Sixers have pretty much abandoned the idea of any internal development since Tyrese Maxey exploded, I guess? They’d have to get back to that here. Maxey’s breakout game came against Reddish’s Hawks in Game 6 back in 2021 even without seeing the floor much in the weeks prior. Could Sam Cassell work with him and get him ready to step into another big moment? Could Doc do more with a top-end prospect like Cam than he has with a Jaden Springer or Paul Reed?
From the jump, in a Sixers uniform, Reddish would have to see himself more as a De’Anthony Melton and less as a Paul George for the rest of this season to help them.
But therein may lie the problem Atlanta and New York faced. Is Reddish dissatisfied with his role? Has he not accepted that maybe he’s not Paul George yet? Does he need more time to take needlessly difficult moves to try to build this secret highlight reel? I’m not sure how content he would be in this 3-and-D role the Sixers could use. House clearly seems comfy with that role and the locker room vibe is at least somewhat important. Would a potential malcontent change that?
But given his tools, if there was nothing better on the table, I’d definitely try to pull the trigger if it meant parting with Korkmaz and House (if we must duck the stupid tax) and a second-rounder. This Sixers team is sorely lacking youth, athleticism and upside. As guys like Harden age, it could really change their fortunes to hit on another player who can do some things Melton can do. I suspect Cam’s rep as a frustrated “bad boy” is a little overstated at this point. Maxey can vouch for his crunch time defense. For prices like this? I’m picking up the phone and calling Leon Rose.