Philadelphia 76ers: J.J. Redick’s aging like fine wine

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Now one year older, birthday boy J.J. Redick played some of his best basketball for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2017-2018 and could continue moving forward.

Happy 34th birthday J.J. Redick!

The crown jewel of the Philadelphia 76ers free agent class of 2017 alongside Amir Johnson, arguably no player had a bigger impact on the team’s re-emergence as a legitimate championship contender both on and off the court.

As a team desperately searching for reinforcements to surround then-unproven rookie point guard Ben Simmons on the wings, Redick quickly proved himself to be the best shooter money could buy.

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Though some initially question the decision to pay a 33-year-old shooting guard an exorbitant $23 million for a single year of action, Redick almost immediately proved his worth for Brett Brown‘s squad, averaging 17.1 points a game while knocking down a team-high 42 percent of his shots from 3-point range, the 15th highest percentage of any player in the league.

But Redick’s contributions to the team were felt much further than just on the court.

The elder statesman on one of the youngest teams in the league, Redick exuded an infectious aura of professionalism that helped to guide the team through their 82-game season, keeping the locker room largely intact in the process. Though other teams infighting (see Cavaliers, Cleveland) resulted in scores of think pieces about their lack of chemistry and resulted in a messy and ultimately unproductive series of trades, nary a word of criticism came from the Sixers’ locker room post the Jahlil Okafor trade, even as Markelle Fultz struggled to refine a broken shot. Philly’s chemistry was a huge reason why they succeeded last season.

While he seldom had the ball in his hands, Redick’s fingerprints were we’re all over the 76ers success last season, and with free agency forthcoming, he should remain in the team’s plans for years to come.

Upon signing with the team last June, Redick describes Philly as a dream scenario and expressed his interest in eventually retiring with the team despite only signing a one-year contract. With the team flushed with short-term cash, and a then-GM feverishly attempting to return the squad to the postseason, giving Redick a big, upfront payment made a lot of sense and actually could help the team retain him long-term.

Instead of agreeing to a medium-length, mid-price deal, says three years for $36 million like the Houston Rockets reportedly offered, Philly essentially gave Redick two years worth of money in one season, so they could potentially re-sign him to a long-term the following offseason for slightly less money each year.

A move that could free up some long-term cap space for ‘star hunting‘.

Next: What happened to the Sixers four second round picks?

Though J.J. Redick could ultimately decide to sign elsewhere, as Brown has no way of retaining him if he chooses to leave, after putting together arguably his best season as a pro at the tender age of 33, the Philadelphia 76ers should reward the now-34-year-old birthday boy with a new long-term deal at the start of free agency.