Not every NBA offseason does a megastar like Chris Paul hit free agency.
The 32-year old “Point God” will unquestionably be the belle of the ball this summer, with all eyes on whether he prioritizes the super max deal he negotiated as head of the NBPA, or bolts from Los Angeles to join Gregg Popovich’s well-oiled machine in San Antonio.
If Paul stays with the Clippers, it seems obvious the team isn’t constructed to defeat the Golden State Warriors. Factor in that Blake Griffin is also up for free agency, and we could be looking at an entirely different team in Lob City next season.
If Doc Rivers entices Paul to take the money and stay, he has another guard to worry about as well. After spending the four best seasons of his career in LA, J.J. Redick is also a free agent this summer.
While the 11-year veteran has pieced together a decent career, he has flourished playing next to Paul. Since the 2013-14 season, only Kyle Korver has been more accurate from 3-point range, per Basketball-Reference. On top of shooting a blistering 44 percent from distance, Redick has made the ninth-most 3s in the league over that period.
The Clippers have a boatload of questions and concerns to answer this summer, as does Redick. He has discussed how close he is with his teammates in the past, so will that sway his decision? Is winning his main priority? This could be his last significant contract. Should the soon-to-be 33-year-old chase the money?
If Redick and the Clippers part ways, here are several destinations that make the most sense for him.
Despite recently selling his mansion in Austin, it has been reported that Redick plans on ultimately moving back to the area. While the local basketball team wouldn’t help him win that elusive championship, he could be a good fit on a team that’s in transition from competing for a playoff spot to slowly rebuilding.
That said, Redick may not be an ideal addition to young guards like Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell. Moreover, it’s likely that the Mavs will add a guard with the ninth pick in the upcoming draft. However, for a team with veterans like Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki, Redick could help big-time with spacing.
Last season the Mavericks posted the 23rd-best offensive rating in the league. Granted it’s due in large part to his situation, but Redick’s team posted one of the better O-ratings in the NBA. Dallas will still have to pay Wesley Matthews a bunch, but Redick would unquestionably be a major offensive upgrade.
Assuming Nowitzki is back, a lineup with Curry, Redick, Barnes, Dirk and Nerlens Noel would have a ton of shooting and spacing, and would have to be a huge improvement offensively over what Rick Carlisle worked with last season.
However, for this to work, the Mavericks would have to decline Nowitzki’s $25 million team option and re-sign him at a much cheaper price. It also may require dumping other salary depending on how much money Redick is seeking.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Again, Redick’s decision this summer may come down to whether he prioritizes money or winning. If it’s the latter, that other team in Texas might make a lot of sense for him.
Whether or not the Spurs are able to pry Paul out of L.A., they still have major roster gaps. With Manu Ginobili likely to retire, one of those big holes is at shooting guard. Considering they led the league in 3-point efficiency last season, Redick would be a welcome addition.
If Redick goes to San Antonio, he’d almost certainly have to take a significant pay cut and adapt to a bench role. Having played the best basketball of his life these last few years, that might be tough … but if he wants to win, he could play a similar role with the Spurs as he did with the Clippers (even off the bench). We all know if anyone out West has a shot at beating the Warriors it has to be Popovich and Kawhi Leonard.
It’ll be hard to come out on top of the Western Conference the next few years. If Redick really wants to play for a championship, it might make the most sense to head to the Eastern Conference.
Sure, the Sixers have a ways to go before even making the playoffs, but Redick could get himself a decent contract and bridge the gap for a team trying to put an end to its losing ways. Philadelphia is desperate for quality veterans and could use more shooting. Redick fits the bill.
Having acquired the top pick in Thursday’s draft, the team is set to trot out two players who thrive in attacking the basket in Ben Simmons and now Markelle Fultz. With Joel Embiid demanding attention around the basket, Redick is the perfect player to kick out to and help create space for those three potential future All-Stars.
It’s also not that far-fetched to think the Sixers could push for a playoff spot if they stay healthy. Embiid played in only 31 games last season, but the team won eight of the last 10 games he appeared in. Of course it’s a short sample size, but adding Redick along with Fultz and Simmons very well could propel this team toward the postseason … and that’s just talking about this year.
There are definitely far superior options for Redick if he wants to win a ring, but he could be a huge part of the offense and a major difference-maker in creating a new culture. Not many teams will be able to offer him the money the Sixers could.
If Redick prioritizes money over winning, the Nets could make him a big offer thanks to an abundance of cap space. General manager Sean Marks was aggressive chasing veterans last offseason, and he’ll try his hardest to find more experienced players to pair with Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker and the gang.
Although Redick doesn’t have quite the upside that near-signees Allen Crabbe or Tyler Johnson had last offseason due to their youth, this roster is clearly somewhere in the middle of a slow rebuild, while trying to remain relatively competitive. The despair that seemed to loom over the Nets after their decimating trade with the Celtics is slowly dissipating.
This isn’t to say that adding Redick would make them good or even below average, but he’d make them less of a laughingstock. Considering nine different guards started games for them last season, the Nets are desperate for not only Redick’s outside shooting (they were 26th in 3-point efficiency last season), but the stability he’d bring to their backcourt.
Again, the Nets won 20 games last season, so they’re far from a piece or two away from relevance. A healthy core of Lopez, Lin and Redick would definitely be more respectable, though, and it might even knock the 2018 pick owed to the Boston Celtics back to the middle of the lottery.
Another enticement: Living in Brooklyn or New York City without having to play for the circus that resides in Madison Square Garden might be appealing for Redick as his career winds down.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
We head back West, where the Pelicans have a lot of questions to answer this offseason. If they choose to retain Jrue Holiday, they can’t make other key signings unless they figure out a way to dump a lot of other salary. Considering they showed signs of improvement after trading for DeMarcus Cousins, maybe they should stand pat.
However, when you look at the roster and think about Redick’s shooting in a lineup with Cousins and Anthony Davis, it feels like a great fit. Yes, the team prioritized wings Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore last offseason, but neither of them bring the outside shooting teams need to succeed in today’s NBA.
Enter Redick, a veteran sharpshooter who would take attention off Cousins and Davis, adding offense to a team that defended relatively well last season. At this stage of his career, Redick may not want to play with a player as volatile as Cousins, but his calm nature could help the locker room, and his spacing in an Alvin Gentry-run offense could get the Pelicans back to the playoffs.
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