July 18, 2019
The Philadelphia 76ers offseason brought major changes to the team's starting five, swapping JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler out for Josh Richardson and Al Horford.
In what has been a historic offseason of NBA musical chairs, the turnover at the top of the Sixers roster isn't a big shock. The team has made clear that its cornerstone players are Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, who just signed a five-year, $170 million deal of his own.
The loss of fan favorite JJ Redick stings not only because of his popularity and leadership, but because he was the team's best shooter by a mile. Redick accepted a two-year, $26 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, who landed draft prize Zion Williamson and several promising players from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade.
Redick, who bought a full-page ad in the Inquirer to thank Philadelphia, left the organization with class. We now know a little bit more about his thought process after he discussed the decision on the latest episode of his podcast. It turns out former Sixers guard Jrue Holiday played a big role in swaying Redick.
"We just chatted on the phone," Redick told The Ringer's Bill Simmons. "I just told (Jrue) on the phone, man, you're one of my favorite players in the NBA and I truly mean that. He's someone that I've just respected and admired as a person and as a player for a long time. As much as it was the young guys and the opportunity to play that mentoring role and all that, a big part of this was getting that opportunity to play with Jrue. I think that was a huge piece of it."
Holiday's game has grown on both ends of the floor since he left Philly. It's no surprise Redick took notice and recognized that he could help form a dangerous backcourt in New Orleans.
But Redick also was up front about the role money played in his choice to leave town.
"I thought for sure I would retire in Philly. I thought that," Redick said. "That was even a conversation I had with Josh Harris. Sometimes the economics of things don’t work out."
For the Sixers, losing Redick will allow more room for a combination of younger, more defensively skilled players in Richardson and Zhaire Smith to see the floor. Redick has been one of the team's biggest momentum-swingers for the past two seasons, but the Sixers will have to find those big buckets elsewhere.
If there's any consolation, GM Elton Brand seems to be angling at signing Kyle Korver to shore up some of the lost three-point shooting. If that comes to fruition in the weeks to come, it would help soften the blow of Redick's departure.