The New Orleans Pelicans followed up their acquisition of Nicolo Melli earlier today with a much bigger splash in the opening hours of the 2019 free agency period, but it was a wholly unexpected one — JJ Redick.
Free agent guard JJ Redick has agreed to a two-year, $26.5M deal to join the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
The 34-year-old shooting guard, who brings 13 years of experience to Alvin Gentry’s offense, is one of the premier shooters in the league. Redick has a career 41.3 percentage from three-point range and has made 1704 threes in his career, good for 21st on the all time list.
Although he’s past his prime, Redick averaged a career-high 18.1 points last season with the Philadelphia 76ers. In addition, he contributed 2.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 made threes in an average of 31.3 minutes per game. However, he is undoubtedly best known for his quick release when finding just a hint of daylight in traffic.
JJ Redick scored 435 points off of hand off actions last season, comfortably the most in modern NBA history and likely the all-time single season record. The blueprint for how teams use elite shooters continues to evolve.— Synergy Basketball (@SynergySST) June 30, 2019
With the David Griffin and Trajan Langdon front office coming to terms with two highly regarded outside shooters, it’s not difficult to surmise the reasoning. While a core of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson is expected to produce incredibly exciting basketball, there were concerns about just how much space there might be in the paint to operate. E’Twaun Moore and Josh Hart were not going to present enough gravity to pull defenders away from driving lanes consistently. In one fell swoop, Redick can handle that responsibility all by his lonesome self whenever he’s out there on the floor.
As for any concerns about the sudden influx of guards on the roster, I think we should trust that Ball and Holiday are safe in the starting lineup. Redick is a good option to come off the bench — perhaps function in a starring 6th man role — and probably join Hart often in the backcourt. In that scenario, does Moore back up Ingram at the three or does he suddenly become trade bait? Also, does this mean that the Pelicans may no longer be in the market for a legitimate backup point guard, relying on Ball, Holiday and perhaps Ingram/others when necessary?
Stay tuned for further analysis as well as any additional free agency news that breaks. The Pelicans still have quite the hole to fill at the center position. But for now, let’s take a step back and marvel at how the roster has quickly transformed from Kentucky South to Duke South!