Sharpshooter J.J. Redick returned to the 76ers on Monday in a significant yet unsurprising move, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth somewhere between $12 and $13 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Redick, who turned 34 in June, became an integral part of the Sixers’ locker room after joining the team last season. He returns on a pay cut, after making $23 million in his first year with the team, and will again be a crucial role player as Philadelphia mounts a run at the Eastern Conference with LeBron James off to Los Angeles. Let’s grade the deal.
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There was obvious incentive for both player and team to get a deal done here after how well things went for Redick and the Sixers last season. Philadelphia needs consistent floor spacing around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and Redick has now shot 42% or better from three-point range in four straight years. Last season, he averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game, helped stabilize Philly’s young locker room and was a major factor in the strides they took. Redick is someone you can run sets for, or simply place in the right location around the arc to enable others to create. The Sixers weren’t comfortably replacing his continued gravity as a shooter anywhere else this off-season, and got it done. The logic isn’t complicated.
While the basketball implications of the move are clear, Redick’s decision to return at a lesser number also leaves possibilities on the table for the Sixers to keep improving their roster. As SI’s Jake Fischer reported earlier this week, they have been active in trade talks for disgruntled Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, with a package including forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington and one or more future first-round picks looking like a possibility. While Philly may or may not pull the trigger on a Leonard deal, they’re armed with the parts to make it work. Regardless, there’s another move or two the Sixers can make as the off-season spins forward and they eye contention in the East.
At present, the Sixers are above the salary cap with access to the midlevel and bi-annual exceptions. By signing Redick and removing his cap hold, they can create about $14 million in space, which offers flexibility to bring in another free agent or absorb salary in a trade. Factoring in the presence of first-rounders Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet, the Sixers would have 14 players under contract, and can create another roster spot by buying out the final year of Jerryd Bayless’s deal. The one-year salary number for Redick is favorable both in the short-term and for the possibilities it creates for the Sixers to be active bidders in free agency next summer, as well. Keeping him makes sense on every level, the price point is ideal, and Philadelphia remains well-positioned for whatever comes next.