76ers

Despite 1-year deal, JJ Redick wants to finish career with Sixers

Despite 1-year deal, JJ Redick wants to finish career with Sixers

LAS VEGAS — JJ Redick signed a lucrative $23 million, one-year deal with the Sixers, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's going anywhere next summer. Redick envisions this contract as only the beginning of a lengthy tenure in Philadelphia.

"My hope is that this is a long-term thing and that I'm here three or four years and can finish my career as a Sixer," Redick said Saturday. 

On the surface, Redick's contract could be seen as a short-term, financially-driven scenario. His highest annual salary prior to this deal was $7.3 million last season with the Clippers. Under this deal, the 33-year-old shooting guard will earn $280,470 per regular-season game.

Yes, Redick could leave at the end of this contract but the notion of getting back into the market for his 13th season in less than a year doesn't appeal to him.

"I hate being a free agent, I'll be honest with you," Redick said. "It's not a fun process for me. I've done it three times and each time it's been absolutely miserable until the outcome."

Redick had been eyeing the Sixers since the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs. He was one of the most sought-after players in free agency for his ability to meet multiple criteria on teams' wish lists. Knockdown three-point shooting. Playoff experience. Veteran leadership.

The Sixers met Redick's criteria as well. A young team on the rise. A roster that complemented his skills. A head coach he greatly respected.

"I really believe this is a team that over the next three or four years will become the best team in the East," Redick said. "I hope I'm sort of part of that rise just beyond this year because I think we can be a playoff team and I think in the next two or three years we can contend for conference championships and hopefully at some point NBA championships."

In order for the Sixers to make that rise, they will have to add to their roster next summer through free agency. They also have several contracts to address with current players, including Joel Embiid. Inking Redick and Amir Johnson (one year, $11 million) to single-season contracts leaves them with the options to make that happen. 

"I do want to say that's not to think this is a one-and-done situation for either one of these gentlemen," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "Promoting flexibility and maintaining that flexibility is just important to where we are as a program, but we look at both of these individuals as key additions to what we're doing with our program in terms of that growth."

Redick understood that mindset when reaching a short-term deal. He has made his desire to remain in Philadelphia known. 

"Bryan and I, Josh and David and I, we've all spoken and we all hope this is not just a one-year thing," Redick said. "I understand why given the pains the franchise has gone through over the last four years, why it's important for them to maintain cap flexibility next summer."

Redick will be a Sixer for the 2017-18 season. If all goes as he'd like, he will be wearing that uniform a lot longer than that. 

"Going into free agency," Redick said, "I would say Philly was sort of the place that I hoped I ended up."

Banged-up Fultz is latest chapter in Sixers' painful rookie history

Banged-up Fultz is latest chapter in Sixers' painful rookie history

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown has been here before. The scenario isn’t as drastic in the past, but it’s familiar nonetheless: starting the season with an injured rookie for the fifth straight year.

Markelle Fultz will begin his first NBA season dealing with ongoing right shoulder and right knee soreness. The No. 1 pick is expected to play on opening night Wednesday, but will come off the bench after appearing in only two preseason games. 

Brown has learned to manage this type of situation after years of experience. Nerlens Noel missed Brown’s entire first season because of an ACL injury. Joel Embiid sat out the following two seasons with foot injuries. Ben Simmons suffered a season-ending foot fracture in last year’s training camp. 

The biggest lesson? 

“To go slow,” Brown said. “To not put them in a position where it’s going to produce some difficult times.” 

Fultz was likely to be a starter when the Sixers traded up to draft him first overall in June. The 19-year-old guard hasn’t had that much experience since then thanks to injuries in both summer league and preseason. 

The Sixers face John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry in the first three games alone. That would be a tall defensive task if Fultz were to start. 

“This league is driven by men, this league is driven by veterans,” Brown said. “To just put him in that environment is just, I think, poor coaching and I’m not doing it.”

Just as Simmons took advice from Embiid during his injury, he is offering words of wisdom to Fultz.

“[You’ve] got to to take your time and you definitely have to take care of your body,” Simmons said. “Put your body first. There’s no need to rush.”

The Sixers have the backcourt depth to adjust without Fultz in the starting lineup. They have been turning to veteran Jerryd Bayless at shooting guard alongside Simmons, their intended backcourt pairing last season. 

In the meantime, Brown will balance Fultz’s health, his growth as an NBA player, and the team’s success. 

“The end game needs to be developing Markelle Fultz," Brown said. 

Joel Embiid disappointed Brett Brown has him on another minutes limit

Joel Embiid disappointed Brett Brown has him on another minutes limit

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid would like to play 48 minutes every game. The Sixers are looking at a maximum of 20 for opening night.

"I don't really know if there's a solid number," Brett Brown said Monday after practice. "I can tell if you were to choose a number, it's somewhere in the teens."

Embiid was hoping for more playing time on Wednesday against the Wizards, his first regular-season game since Jan. 27 (left knee surgery).

"I didn't know about that, but that's very disappointing," Embiid said Monday of the minutes restriction. "I feel great and hopefully that changes based on today's practice and tomorrow's practice."

The Sixers are being cautious with Embiid, who has both a lengthy history of injuries and a massive new contract extension. He clocked 15 minutes in both of his preseason games last week. Embiid felt he could have played twice as many minutes.

While the Sixers aren't ready to go as high as 30 minutes yet, they could exercise some wiggle room based on the flow of the game.

"There will be some minutes restrictions, but it's also a judgment of how is the game being played, not just looking at rote, rigid number," Brown said.

The NBA's new timeout rules could impact Embiid's playing time. The updated format changes include a decrease in the maximum number of timeouts allowed (18 to 14), 75-second team timeouts and fewer timeouts in the final minutes of the game. 

"One of the things that we're doing this year unlike previous years is there's a little bit of a looseness in relation to it doesn't have to be rigid if the game didn't dictate some track meet," Brown said. "This is like I'm coaching in the London Olympic Games again. The game moves. I can have guys at a scorers table for two minutes with no stoppage. So sometimes the torrid pace of a game doesn't favor Jo where you go flying up and down."

In addition to individual games, it remains to be seen if Embiid will be cleared this season for back-to-backs. The Sixers face their first set of consecutive games this Friday and Saturday against the Celtics at home and the Raptors in Toronto.