In case you are somehow out of the loop, I have some bad news for you: Ex-Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard J.J. Redick has officially retired from the NBA after 15 years to instead turn his attention to the totally-not-oversaturated world of podcasting.
Is this news particularly surprising? No. Redick’s game seriously tailed off in 2020-21, and he had a very public bit of descent after his request to be traded back East was ignored by the New Orleans Pelicans in favor of Wesley Iwundu, James Johnson, cash, and a 2021 second-round draft pick.
Was Redick universally popular over his basketball career? No way; I mean, he did go to Duke after all, but for more than a few fans in the City of Brotherly Love, Redick will forever elicit fond memories from one of the brightest runs in recent Philadephia 76ers history.
And to think, if it wasn’t for Elton Brand, that era might have stretched on a little longer, and J.J. Redick wouldn’t be left with the biggest “What if” of his NBA career.
Elton Brand cost the Philadelphia 76ers a much-needed shooter.
At a recent live recording of his podcast “The Old Man and the Three,” J.J. Redick was asked about the biggest regret of his NBA career.
He paused for a moment and took a beat, if you will, before presenting a measured response. He wouldn’t take back the outcome of any game, as that isn’t in a person’s control. He also wouldn’t take back any specific shot, as, again, it’s out of his control. No, if Jonathan Clay Redick could take back any one thing about his NBA career, it would be leaving the Philadelphia 76ers for New Orleans in 2019.
Don’t believe me? Well, watch it for yourself below:
Elton Brand, you messed up.
Now granted, the Sixers did reportedly offer Redick a contract in the three-years, $20 million range with a partial guarantee for the third year, but in a league where shooting is at an all-time premium, that deal just wasn’t good enough to get a deal done. Redick was ultimately wooed away on a two-year, $26.5 million deal in the hopes of hitching his wagon to yet another young, ascending superstar, in the hopes of keeping his playoff streak alive with his wagon hitched to Zion Williamson.
Did it work? No. Redick’s record was dashed by a 30-42 Pelicans squad helmed by Alvin Gentry, and he was shipped out of town the following year once it became apparent that a Western Conference playoff spot was out of the cards for New Orleans, but with his NBA career entering its final frame, it’s understandable to accept one final big-time payday, especially with Redick’s passion for dining at expensive restaurants.
But, dare I ask, why didn’t Brand offer Redick something comparable? I mean, the Sixers had Redick’s early Bird Rights and weren’t yet in the cap space purgatory of having Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons all on max contracts, they could have easily offered him a contract worth $13 million a year over two, or even just another one-year deal in the same general financial range.
Whether you like him, hate him, or fall somewhere in-between, you have to admit, the Sixers could have desperately used Redick over the past few seasons, especially in 2019-20, when shooting was very hard to come by.
Sure, Redick sort of flew in the face of that particular team’s defense-first philosophy, as he’s never been more than a below-average defender, and he became a particularly brutal one once his athleticism started to fall by the wayside, but when a team ranks 20th in average points per game and 22nd in average 3 point attempts per game, that schematic purity becomes less relevant.
And worst of all? Embiid lost his favorite pick and pop partner in crime; a schematic fit he didn’t have again until Daryl Morey traded away Josh Richardson and a second for one of Redick’s biggest fans, Seth Curry.
Outside of drafting Matisse Thybulle, there isn’t a whole lot to look back and like about the Elton Brand-era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball. He traded away fan favorites, acquired new ones, and then traded them away too when it became apparent that his star-studded roster wasn’t built to last. Brand drove Robert Covington out of town, Dario Saric out of town, and even Jimmy Butler to and from town, while extending Tobias Harris to the richest contract in franchise history that will forever cloud his perception league-wide. But of those moves, the one that hurt J.J. Redick the most, understandably, was not offering him a fair market offer when he hit the open market, as it forced him to break his promise to finish out his career in the City of Brotherly Love.