76ers

JJ Redick drops knowledge on his free-agent process in new podcast

JJ Redick drops knowledge on his free-agent process in new podcast

With a new team comes a new podcast.

After recording 40 episodes last year for Yahoo!'s The Vertical, newly signed Sixers guard JJ Redick has now joined UNINTERRUPTED, a digital media company started by LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter that has already gotten contributions from star athletes like Serena Williams, Draymond Green and Rob Gronkowski. 

But Redick is the first athlete on the site to be the sole host of his own podcast, The Chronicles of Redick. His first episode, which dropped Wednesday morning, featured one of his new bosses, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo. 

Together, Redick and Colangelo discussed the fast-paced process that ultimately led the Sixers to ink the former Duke standout to a one-year, $23 million contract on the first day of free agency.

"I'm flying to L.A. thinking I've got a meeting set up at 1 p.m., I've got one at 3:30 p.m. and I've got one at 5:30 p.m. — all with people in mind who I was hoping to secure one-year commitments from," Colangelo said in the episode. "There was one other individual that I'll leave nameless for now that I was hoping to convince on a very large deal that had about the same dollar value as we did with you. So when I got off the plane, I had been texting a little bit with Greg (Redick's agent) on the plane and he said call me when you land.

"I'm in a car and I'm driving to Beverly Hills to stay at the Montage hotel and my meeting's set up for 1 p.m., and it's literally about 12:05 at this time. We're having a general conversation and I'm explaining to him why it's important about the one year and he's pushing back, obviously, per your instructions. We're going back and forth, I'm moving the dialogue and at the end of the day, I said, 'Look, Greg, I know you want as much time as possible here and I know you want to go forward with respect to the deal, but I've got a discussion that's beginning at 1 p.m. today and I'm going to throw that same kind of offer on the table. And I have no idea what the offer's going to be, but if the answer is yes without an answer from you, I may be inclined to move in that direction.' 

"In a span of nine hours, I left my office, I put my head on my pillow for two hours, I fly to Los Angeles, I get in a car and I make a deal with Greg in the car on the way to this meeting. That's how quickly things can turn."

For Redick, after playing 11 seasons for three different NBA teams, he desperately wanted the security of a long-term deal. Now at age 33, it's not a guarantee that the 11th overall pick in 2006 will get another shot at a big-time payday.

But ultimately, it came down to Redick's making a decision that would both give him a chance to earn the money he wanted and potentially play for a title in the near future.

Still, that choice wasn't an easy one.

"There was one moment where I didn't allow the cameras (for UNINTERRUPTED's documentary on his free-agent process) and I wandered out to Brooklyn Bridge Park," Redick said. "It was at the point in time where I was like, 'Man, I'm not gonna get years.'

"And you have to understand something, for basically 14 months since last season ended, I've envisioned this contract, and the contract wasn't about the second number. It wasn't about 50 or 60 or 70 or 80. It wasn't about that. It was about that first number — three or four (years)."

As Redick discussed with CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato following his introductory press conference in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, Colangelo hinted that this season may very well be a jumping-off point in a long-term relationship between the Sixers and the veteran sharpshooter.

"The advent of this process — everyone refers to it as a process — I think life is a process, so it's pretty easy to apply it to every aspect of your life," Colangelo said. "But in this particular case, they did really break things down to a point where there was a lot of pain and suffering and you know, I raced out into free agency and signed a number of long-term commitments to players that were good enough to help us win, but not good enough to help us achieve those longer-term results, which we aspire to win championships. 

"It just was incredibly important to the organization that we were diligent and prudent in our spending. We took steps and this is a measured step. ... This is a one-year contract, but I don't view it as a one-year relationship. This is a situation where if you come in and deliver on what we expect and if we deliver for you what you expect, there's no reason why we can't move forward in some form or fashion."

In the hour-long episode, Redick dropped several interesting insights on the process of going through NBA free agency, and Colangelo — in about a 15-minute segment beginning around the 46-minute mark of the show — talked about why the Sixers were willing to pay a premium for Redick as well as the impact his signing had on the rest of free agency. 

Redick on having no idea where he'd wind up:
"I knew with about 10 days to go until free agency that it was going to be a vastly different market than it was a year ago. ... There were a couple of teams I had sort of hoped and wanted to work something out with, and you know how the NBA works, man. There's all these back-channel communications. It got back to me what the other teams were thinking, and it wasn't really the terms that I necessarily wanted, so I knew basically 10 days out I was like, 'All right, for the third time being a free agent, I'm going to go into July 1 having really no idea what's going to happen.' Maybe that's prevalent across the league — it probably is, I think the majority of players don't know."

Colangelo on the Sixers' goals for this offseason:
"When it comes to putting your team together year after year, there's long-term strategy and there's short-term strategy. This team has obviously been in a long-term rebuilding process, but when I came on about a year ago, it was all about building — forget the word rebuilding, it's now building it up. We really set out to do a few things over the last year that culminated in preparing for the draft and free agency with three primary objectives in mind. 

"I think, first of all, we wanted to enhance and nurture the development of the core players — we've got some young core guys that have gotten an opportunity to play significant minutes and some of whom have played none. ... The second concept was promoting the idea of winning. Bringing in some talent, critical elements like experience, leadership, skill set, things like you represent, and that's why we targeted you and made a point of emphasis of trying to get something with you done. And then third, it's critical for the team in our situation to maintain flexibility for the future." 

If you want to listen to the whole podcast, click here.

Sixers rookies Landry Shamet, Shake Milton receive good (!) injury news

Sixers rookies Landry Shamet, Shake Milton receive good (!) injury news

Finally, some good health news, Sixers fans.

While Zhaire Smith continues an unfortunate trend of Sixers’ rookies suffering injuries, two other 2018 draft picks are progressing.

First-round pick Landry Shamet (sprained right ankle) and second-round pick Shake Milton (stress fracture in his back) are both asymptomatic, the team said Monday.

Shamet has been cleared for “light basketball activities” while Milton can “resume limited basketball activities.”

Shamet, a guard out of Wichita State, got banged up in the first half of the Sixers’ first summer league game against the Celtics. Shamet logged just 12 minutes before suffering the ankle sprain. He hit 2 of 5 from three for six points during the stint.

Milton never got the opportunity to play in summer league having suffered his injury during the pre-draft process. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward out of SMU is on a two-way contract with the Sixers, meaning he’ll spend the majority of his season with the Delaware Blue Coats and can spend no more 45 days with the big club.

Smith, the 16th overall pick acquired in a draft-night trade with the Suns, suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot and underwent successful surgery last week. There’s been no timetable for his return.

Both Shamet and Milton offer something the Sixers covet: shooting. Shamet shot 44 percent on 5.1 threes a game in 71 games. Milton was also proficient, shooting 43 percent on 5.1 attempts from distance in 87 games.

The Sixers’ rotation should be a tough one to crack this season, but being healthy for camp would be a fine start for Shamet and Milton.

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Despite Jamal Crawford's praise, Sixers should be wary of signing veteran free agent

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Despite Jamal Crawford's praise, Sixers should be wary of signing veteran free agent

Despite coming up empty in their goal of star hunting this summer, the Sixers are still currently one of the more desirable franchises in the NBA.

They reached the second round of the playoffs last season behind two up-and-coming stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Plus, the organization has a respected head coach in Brett Brown, state-of-the-art training complex, an intense fan base and much more to offer.

At least that’s how free-agent scorer Jamal Crawford views things.

“I like their city. I like how into it they are about basketball. I like their knowledge of basketball, how passionate they are,” Crawford said of Philadelphia last week to Brandon Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “I’ve always loved coach Brett Brown. I’ve been on record. I’ve been a fan of his for years. He just needed talent, and now he has that. He added Ben Simmons, I love his game. I love Jo-Jo. They’re both among my favorite players in the league to watch. Markelle (Fultz) is like a little brother to me. Obviously, he went to the University of Washington, and we talk every other day. JJ Redick is like a brother to me. We’ve been through wars together, so there’s so many things to love about Philadelphia for sure.”

That’s high praise from a three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner. High enough to the point that he would want to suit up for the Sixers?

“I think for me, especially being out there as a free agent, something could work out,” Crawford said. “I would be honored to play there, but things obviously have to take its course and I kind of got to sit back, but who wouldn’t want to play there?”

Well, that cleared things up. 

Now the Sixers, in a new position with players openly offering their services to them, have to be clear too: Crawford isn’t the answer.

No, not “The Answer” although Crawford does have some legendary crossover moves of his own. The 18-year veteran simply isn’t the right fit for this Sixers squad.

For all of Crawford’s accomplishments over nearly two decades in the NBA, the 38-year-old has been on a steady decline. His scoring has dropped in each of the past five years until he posted 10.3 points a night last season with Minnesota, his lowest mark since he averaged 10.7 a night way back in 2002-03.

While Crawford attributed his struggles with the Timberwolves to limited minutes, that doesn’t have anything to do with his efficiency or lack thereof. Crawford shot 41.5 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from three-point range in 2017-18. Those numbers aren’t outliers either as he has career averages of 41.0 percent field goal shooting and 34.9 percent three-point shooting.

And it’s not just the scoring itself. It’s also how Crawford scores the ball. Even though he received only 20.7 minutes per game with the T-Wolves, Crawford was 13th in the entire league in isolation frequency with 19.8 percent of his possessions coming in a one-on-one setting. For comparison, Simmons was the highest Sixer in isolation frequency at 9.0 percent (87th in the NBA).

It’s understandable the Sixers might be still be looking to replace the veteran scoring off the bench lost by the departures of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, but Crawford’s game doesn’t exactly scream the pace-and-space mantra preached by the club.

That just shows how Crawford isn’t an ideal fit offensively. We won’t even get into the defensive end of the court (*cough* Crawford had a defensive rating of 112.9 last season, which means opponents averaged that many points per 100 possessions he was on the floor, good enough for 490th out of 523 total players *cough*).

Crawford does still have a place in the league. He’s a volume scorer that can potentially get hot on any given night and pour in 30 points. He’s also great in the locker room, a reason he took home Teammate of the Year award in '17-18.

But with the above signs of decline as well as T.J. McConnell and a rejuvenated Markelle Fultz penciled in as the Sixers’ reserve backcourt, there might not be the opportunity in Philadelphia that Crawford is seeking out.

Part of the Sixers now being desired is having the power in their hands. This might be a perfect time to use that to their advantage and ignore Crawford’s interest.

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