Philadelphia 76ers: J.J. Redick just looks wrong in a Pelicans jersey

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

After expressing a desire to retire as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers two summers ago, J.J. Redick just looks wrong in a New Orleans Pelicans jersey.

I don’t blame the J.J. Redick for signing with the New Orleans Pelicans over the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency.

I get it; the Pelicans offered the 35-year-old vet a whole lot more money ($26.5 million versus around $20 million) over a shorter contract (three versus two) but after declaring a desire to retire as a member of the Sixers back in 2017, it just felt off to watch him leave town after a heartbreaking buzzer-beater sent the team to a premature postseason exit.

Redick’s return seemed so set in stone that I personally accounted for it in every free agency-related article I wrote for the better part of three months – a decision I still stand by to this day because of the sheer bizarreness of letting him go.

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As we all so unfortunately saw last season, the 76ers really, really need to surround their franchise cornerstones – Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid obviously – with shooters to unlock their true potential, as both players do the brunt of their damage in the paint.

While adding proven vets like Al Horford and Josh Richardson will help to alleviate the team’s exiting starters, neither player is a 40-plus percent shooter from downtown – let alone the kind of player who should put up eight attempts a game night-in and night-out.

So needless to say, when Redick made his media day debut in a New Orleans Pelicans jersey, it felt weird.

It looked weird. 

Reverting back to the number four – the number he wore from 2014-17 with the Los Angeles Clippers – Redick looked fully committed to his new club and a strong desire to keep his career-long playoff record intact off the strength of Zion Williamson and the new-look David Griffin-led Pelicans.

Now granted, the easiest route for Redick to keep that streak in-tact would have been to remain in his number 17 Philadelphia 76ers jersey, but alas I digress.

Regardless of (my) presumed priority of keeping Redick in the fold moving forward, it became increasingly apparent with each signing that the 76ers prioritized building a dominant, switchable defense over their typical 3-point heavy offensive assault and in that sort of scheme, Jonathan Clay is simply a poor fit.

Had Redick stuck around, the Sixers would not have been able to fit Horford’s four-year, $109 million deal under the cap without renouncing every other free agent on the roster – and even then, it would have been tight. While one could argue that the team really should have targeted a better backup point guard to soak up snaps behind Simmons and (I guess) Richardson – as Raul Neto and Trey Burke are kind of meh – keeping Redick around one a long-term deal could have actually hurt the team moving forward and limited the team’s ceiling in 2020 and beyond.

But still, that doesn’t make Redick’s departure any less of a bummer.

Next. 76ers fans should feel disappointed if J.J. Redick turned down hometown discount. dark

No matter how this season goes, whether it ends in a championship victory or another ugly defeat, it’s going to feel weird watching with Philadelphia 76ers offense run without everyone’s favorite 6-foot-4 shooting guard whizzing around the court looking for an open shot – even if the old guy is in a better place.