Four potential JJ Redick landing spots in free agency

Four potential JJ Redick landing spots in free agency

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Four potential JJ Redick landing spots in free agency

One would be hard-pressed to find a deadlier three-point shooter than JJ Redick.

Over the past three seasons, the Duke product has converted 44 percent of his looks from beyond the arc, the highest rate among players with at least 1,000 attempts from deep. Coming in second on that list? Two-time league MVP Stephen Curry at 43.1 percent. And third? Career sharpshooter Kyle Korver at 42.8 percent.

This season, Redick averaged a career-high in nightly points (17.1) while producing the second-highest assists per game of his days as a professional (3.0). And he did it at the ripe age of 33.

So despite the fact Redick will turn 34 before 2018-19 rolls around, he will still garner heavy interest on the free-agent market this offseason after his one year with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 12-year veteran could take his impending free agency in one of two directions: Will he chase one more payday? Or will the prospect of winning an NBA title – the first of his career – weigh more heavily on his mind?

For his career, Redick has earned $78.5 million not counting endorsements, $23 million of that total coming just this past season as a member of the Sixers. It’s plausible Redick is content with the amount of money he’s earned in his career, and could place a higher emphasis on winning going forward.

We break down the Duke legend’s likeliest landing spots.

Los Angeles Lakers

After seeing the turnaround Philadelphia made this season (from 28 wins in 2016-17 to 52 in 2017-18, and a second-round playoff appearance), most of the credit went to the growth of the team’s two best young players, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

However, total buy-in was required from the locker room after so many years of losing. And that’s where the Sixers’ veterans, namely Redick and Amir Johnson, were so important.

Redick contributed on the court a bit more than Johnson did, to be sure, but both were vital to helping Philadelphia turn things around this season.

That’s why a team like L.A. could find itself interested in Redick this offseason.

The Lakers surely hope to make a similar turnaround to the 76ers in 2018-19, and Philadelphia’s shooting guard could help them with the process. (No pun intended.)

Outside of Los Angeles’ locker room, Redick could also help the Lakers with one of their biggest on-court problems over recent years: three-point shooting.

In 2017-18, Los Angeles ranked 29th out of the league’s 30 teams in three-point accuracy, converting just 34.5 percent of their looks from deep. We already covered how adept Redick remains as a three-point shooter these days, so how he would help the Lakers in this facet is obvious.

Financially, a fit between Redick and the Lakers isn’t that difficult to surmise, as no team will have more cap space this summer than Los Angeles. Sure, they’re likely to use most of it trying to land either Paul George or LeBron James, or on re-signing Julius Randle, but if they miss out on both of the established outside stars, there’s a good chance they’ll have some left over to land a secondary target, like Redick, after bringing Randle back.

If the Lakers do strike out with their top outside targets, team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have publicly stated they’ll save their cap flexibility and try again in the summer of 2019. As such, signing Redick would likely be on a one-year basis, similar to the deal Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received from the team for 2017-18.

A one-year, $15 million agreement between Redick and the Lakers would make sense for both parties and would likely get the job done, provided there’s actual interest between player and club.

Cleveland Cavaliers

On the other hand, as opposed to joining another rebuild in an attempt to fast-track it, Redick could also seek the best opportunity to win a title, especially now that his career is beginning to reach its twilight.

That’s where the Cleveland Cavaliers could come into the picture.

Redick to the Cavs makes sense for a few reasons.

For one, the team’s most important member who everything is built around, James, favors competing next to veterans as opposed to young players. Just look at their current playoff rotation for proof. Rodney Hood has been mostly glued to the bench. Same with Larry Nance Jr. Of Cleveland’s young core, only Jordan Clarkson has been given consistent playing time in the 2018 postseason.

Furthermore, the Cavs may have a hole to fill at backup shooting guard this offseason. Hood will be a restricted free agent and after the way he has performed (averaging 4.6 points on 39.6 percent shooting in the playoffs) and acted (refused to check into Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors during garbage time), it’s hard to see Cleveland bringing him back for 2018-19.

To acquire Redick, all the Cavaliers will have to offer the 12-year vet will be the taxpayer mid-level exception, worth $5.3 million. It would be a serious pay cut for Redick, and would obviously be contingent upon James not leaving Cleveland this summer, but if the sharpshooter wants to try and win his first championship as a professional, there aren’t many better places to do it than as James’ teammate.

San Antonio Spurs

So much of what the San Antonio Spurs do this offseason depends on what Kawhi Leonard’s future with the team holds. Even after their season ended, the situation hasn’t gained much more clarity. If anything, it might be getting even murkier.

For our purposes, we’re imagining a summer where Leonard gets healthier, he gets past whatever rift he may have with the team and he returns like the 2016-17 version of himself, i.e., a top-five player.

If that does happen (it’s starting to look like a big if), the Spurs will have to strengthen their roster around the All-NBA wing in order to make a legit run at the Western Conference crown.

One player they could target is Redick, especially if their current 2-guard, Danny Green, opts out of the final year of his deal and signs elsewhere.

That may have looked unlikely prior to this season, but Green’s play recently hasn’t resembled the player he used to be.

In the 2018 postseason, Green played merely 20.6 minutes nightly, shot a paltry 26.7 percent from the floor and averaged 4.2 points per contest. What’s more, after hitting 42.3 percent of his triples over his first five seasons with San Antonio, the North Carolina product is shooting just 35.7 percent from deep over his past three years with the organization.

It may be time for Gregg Popovich and Co. to look for an upgrade at the position – an upgrade like Redick.

Financially, a union between Redick and the Spurs would likely have to be for around the standard mid-level exception, or, roughly $8.6 million annually.

The only way the Spurs would be operating under the cap for 2018-19 would be if Green opts out and walks, and is joined by Rudy Gay, who also owns a player option on his deal for next season. Gay seems content in San Antonio, but after suffering a nasty Achilles injury in 2017, he could opt out in search for more long-term security with his next contract.

Regardless, if both Green and Gay leave, the unimaginable would also have to happen for the Spurs to be under the cap.

San Antonio has a huge cap hold for 2018-19 belonging to Tony Parker, worth $23.2 million. For the Spurs to become an under-the-cap team, Parker, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, looked like a shell of himself last season and eventually got benched for Dejounte Murray, would have to sign elsewhere.

If those three players leave, the Spurs could just choose to sign Redick for $8.6 million with their regular cap space and still have the mini mid-level exception ($4.4 million) to offer prospective free agents.

Redick’s shooting would greatly help San Antonio’s 17th-ranked offense from last season, and his locker-room presence would fit right in within the Spurs’ culture.

Philadelphia 76ers

Usually, a player’s current team has a massive advantage in re-signing said player once they hit free agency.

In the case of Redick and the Sixers, though, it’s just a decent-sized advantage as opposed to a massive one.

The fact Redick signed a one-year deal (worth $23 million) to join Philadelphia last summer means the team doesn’t own his Bird, or early Bird, Rights. Those require a minimum of a two-year contract with a team before they’re applicable.

However, Philadelphia can still use his non-Bird Rights and offer Redick up to 120 percent of his previous salary to re-sign him. Non-Bird Rights also allow a team to go over the cap to bring back one of their free agents. Thus, the Sixers will still have a leg up in Redick’s free agency, even without his Bird Rights.

But are they a lock to be aggressive in recruiting Redick to return?

It’s tough to say.

Redick will be a year older next season, and his defensive deficiencies were seriously exposed by the Boston Celtics, who ousted Philadelphia from the playoffs in merely five games. Spending almost 25 percent of their cap on an aging shooting guard who only specializes in one thing may not be the smartest investment, especially when they’ll have the cap space to go after a James or a George instead.

Truth be told, re-signing Marco Belinelli at a fifth of the price may be the wiser move.

It would appear that unless Redick is willing to take a pretty big pay cut in order to re-sign with the team based in the City of Brotherly Love, it’s going to be difficult for the two parties to find common ground in negotiations.

At the moment, Redick seems hopeful for a return to the 76ers…

…but at the end of the day, the NBA is a business.

If Philadelphia thinks they can replace his production at a cheaper price, or if they strike gold with any of their top targets in free agency, the sun may very well have set on Redick’s time with the Sixers.

You can find Frank Urbina on Twitter @frankurbina_.

HoopsHype’s Alberto de Roa contributed to this article.

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