The last contract J.J. Redick signed paid him $27.8 million over four years, a respectable rate at the time for a shooter coming into his own. With his game now more fully realized, Redick will earn almost as much in the 2017-18 season as in those four previous years combined. Redick agreed on Saturday to a one-year deal with the 76ers for $23 million – a short, splashy deal that benefits all involved.
The agreement was all but confirmed by the man himself:
Redick, who just turned 33, only has so many cracks left at big-money free agency. Here he delays the pursuit of a long-term contract for an immediate payday worth more than he would likely have landed in the average salary of a multi-year deal. Yet the Sixers, while spending big, don’t cause any damage whatsoever to their short- or long-term outlook. That Philadelphia kept its books clean through its rebuild leaves nearly $30 million in cap space after accounting for Redick’s salary. Some of that money could be earmarked to renegotiate Robert Covington’s contract, though as a lump sum it gives the Sixers options. Already they have the dizzying talents of Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Ben Simmons at their core, with Covington, Dario Saric, and now Redick in support – not to mention a handful of other prospects. Trades with a lopsided salary balance could make use of that space to add even more talent, else another signing or two could still be on the way.
Philadelphia paid Redick what they did because they needed a player just like him: a professional to set an example for a young team; a shooter to bring a crowded floor to balance; and a two-way wing to help fill out the starting lineup. Redick makes perfect sense on a team where Embiid, Fultz, and Simmons will carry the bulk of the creative burden. The only touches Redick really needs are those coming off of his looping curls or kick-out passes to the perimeter. What he offers in exchange is spacing unlike anything Embiid saw last season, when he averaged 28.7 points per 36 minutes in cramped quarters.
Quickly the Sixers are crossing the threshold from an interesting team to a competitive one. The already depleted Eastern Conference lost Paul George and Jimmy Butler this week, and Indiana and Chicago’s playoff hopes along with them. Paul Millsap does not seem long for Atlanta, which has telegraphed a rebuilding shift. There is a gaping hole in the gut of the conference which young, rising teams like the Sixers might fill. How Philly will match up with the Cavs or the Celtics doesn’t really matter. This is a team built to contend years from now, though it already has such considerable talent in store that it can afford to win games as it goes. A collection of high draft picks and supporting veterans can carry the franchise through the upward swing that The Process promised. And with how the offseason is shaking out, there won’t be enough quality teams left in the East to stop them from finally making their playoff breakthrough.