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The L.A. Clippers Should Move on From J.J. Redick

Despite his importance to the Clippers, it may be time for J.J. Redick and Los Angeles to part ways.

Jesse Blancarte

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In July of 2013, the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks completed a three-team trade that landed sharpshooter J.J. Redick in Los Angeles. Since his arrival, Redick has provided the Clippers with incredibly reliable shooting, extremely important off-ball movement, underrated defensive impact (for the most part) and another important veteran presence that would help stabilize what at times could be a shaky locker room.

After four years with the Clippers, Redick will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Despite all of his accomplishments and arguable status as the Clippers’ fourth-most important player over the last four years, Los Angeles should probably pass on re-signing Redick this offseason for a variety of reasons.

Redick’s significance to the Clippers over the last four years cannot be denied. He has been the Clippers’ go-to-scorer in first quarters, runs opponents through multiple screens on each possession, knocks down jumpers coming off of screens and out of catch-and-shoot opportunities, acts as a secondary playmaker in specific sets, has hit several clutch shots in high-pressure situations, plays solid team defense and has been a staple in the Clippers’ high-scoring starting lineup since first arriving.

Redick has simply made the Clippers a better team over the last few seasons, stemming primarily from his ultra-efficient shooting, as seen in his shooting chart for this season.

His efficiency in the midrange and off the dribble made him particularly dangerous on offense. Whereas strictly catch-and-shoot three-point marksmen can be run off the line and essentially shut down, Redick could take the ball off the dribble and pull up for a jumper, drive to the basket for a layup, draw help defenders and set up DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin up for a lob or kick the ball out to reset the offense. All of these things are what has made Redick so effective with the Clippers. And yet, all of that may not matter this upcoming offseason considering several teams with cap space will likely make him sizable offers and, perhaps more importantly, the fact that he has failed to contribute at a high level in the postseason since joining the Clippers.

In his four regular seasons with the Clippers, Redick has shot 39.5 percent, 43.7 percent, 47.2 percent and 42.9 percent from three-point range, respectively. Redick never averaged fewer than 5.3 three-point attempts per game during these regular seasons. However, in the playoffs, Redick shot 40 percent, 39.8 percent, 35.5 percent and 34.6 percent from three-point range, respectively. Redick generally averaged a high volume of three-point attempts, but in this year’s postseason, he only averaged 3.7 three-point attempts per game.

The problem has been, and is increasingly so now, that at 6-foot-4, Redick has been unable to create the same space between himself and his defenders in the postseason. The Clippers have run the same actions to run Redick’s defenders through multiple screens, but with better overall defenses in the postseason and more time for teams to adequately scheme against him, Redick’s production has fallen flat overall in the playoffs with the Clippers. In Game 7 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz, Redick made one of his five field goal attempts and finished with three points. Redick will be age 33 when he signs his next contract, so it’s not as though these issues in the postseason are going to somehow improve significantly moving forward as Redick presumably slows down.

To be fair, Redick is the sort of player that can post a less-than-exceptional stat line but still help his team win. If Redick is being locked down by an overloading defense, the likelihood is his teammates should have less defensive pressure and better scoring opportunities. However, the Clippers have been unable to capitalize on any advantages that may arise from the overloading pressure teams have put on Redick in the postseason.

Additionally, while Redick has been an effective defender at shooting guard for the Clippers, he was exploited by Utah’s bigger wings throughout their series matchup. Players like Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward were simply too big and too skilled for Redick to handle defensively. Utah often sought and forced switches to get guys like Johnson and Hayward the ball with Redick or Jamal Crawford defending them. It was a simple tactic that worked repeatedly throughout the series. While not every team features ball-handling wings as big as Utah’s, this problem will only worsen as Redick continues to age and his athleticism continues to decline.

It is rumored that Redick will be seeking an annual salary in the $16-18 million range this offseason. While Redick’s shooting makes him a valuable player, it’s not clear that the Clippers should make such an investment in a player who has struggled in each of the last four postseasons. The Clippers could simply let Redick walk away or try and come up with a sign-and-trade deal with another team (assuming of course that the Clippers re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin rather than blowing up the roster). Marc Berman of the New York Post talked to league executives recently about a scenario in which the Clippers sign and trade Redick, along with other players, to the New York Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.

“According to some league executives, the only deal that makes sense for both sides is packaging Redick, combo guard Austin Rivers and adding wingman Wesley Johnson for financial purposes in exchange for Anthony and perhaps one of the Knicks’ two second-round picks in next month’s draft. At the trade deadline, the Clippers’ offer of Rivers and 37-year-old Jamal Crawford was turned down by the Knicks.”

A lot of different moving parts have to come together for this sort of deal to happen, so for now, it’s simply a hypothetical. However, the Clippers should be looking into such options since Doc Rivers has run back the same team, for the most part, for several seasons now and has come up well short each year. Redick has played a major role in the Clippers’ overall success in that span of time, but his shortcomings in the postseason, the size of his next contract and the fact that he will soon be 33 should make his future in Los Angeles unclear.

For his part, Redick hasn’t said much about his future since the Clippers’ season came to an end.

“The playoffs are always emotional. It was an emotional series for both teams. It was an emotional series for me,” Redick said. “I’m just processing emotion right now. I’m not thinking about the future.”

There are more questions than answers right now for the Clippers as they enter a crucial offseason. If Paul and Griffin opt to take their talents elsewhere, then re-signing Redick makes little sense. But if both stars decide to re-sign, Doc Rivers will have a lot to consider in regard to Redick, despite all he has accomplished in his four seasons in Los Angeles.

Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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NBA Daily: Warriors Depth Shines on Opening Night

The Warriors have lost some key veterans but opening night showed they still have the depth to reign supreme, writes David Yapkowitz.

David Yapkowitz

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With the Golden State Warriors emerging victorious on ring night behind big performances from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, and the summer addition of DeMarcus Cousins, it’s easy to see why many have penciled them in for a three-peat.

When Cousins returns to the court, the Warriors will be able to play a lineup of five All-Stars with Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. With all of that star talent they possess, it’s easy to overlook the surrounding depth that they’ve managed to accumulate.

A successful organization like the Warriors becomes successful because they have a great front office in place who can identify talent and a good coaching staff who can develop that talent. Having superstars in place certainly helps, but all championship teams need to have that key depth.

Last night, the Warriors showed that they don’t just consist of their superstars, they’ve got some weapons on the team that are very capable of having big nights of their own.

The past few seasons, the Warriors depth in the frontcourt consisted of older veterans such as Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West. Pachulia and McGee signed elsewhere while West retired. With Cousins still recovering, that leaves the majority of the frontcourt minutes to younger, more inexperienced players such as Damion Jones and Kevon Looney.

Neither Jones nor Looney has seen much action during their first few seasons in the league. Looney had his fourth-year contract option declined a year ago, and this summer he received very little interest in free agency before re-signing with the Warriors. Prior to last night, it seemed as if Jones would follow the same fate as the team has until Oct. 31 to pick up his fourth-year option.

If last night was any indication, however, the Warriors would be wise to keep both around for as long as possible.

Making his first ever career start, Jones passed his initial test. He looked like a perfect compliment to the Warriors All-Stars. He ran the pick and roll to perfection, finishing with 12 points on 6-7 shooting from the field. He can finish around the rim, and he also had three assists.

Defensively, he blocked three shots and matched up well with Steven Adams all night.

Coming off the bench, Looney had a productive game of his own. He had a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds. Eight of his rebounds came on the offensive end, helping the Warriors gain extra possessions. He also had two assists and two blocked shots.

Both big men, Jones in particular since he’s the starter, will have a few more tests coming up as the Warriors travel to Utah and Denver. Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic await them. It will be interesting to see how they respond to that. For the duration that Cousins remains out, the Warriors will be relying quite a bit on their young big men.

Should either one falter at any point, the Warriors still have Jordan Bell waiting in the wings. Bell proved to be a second-round steal last season, but only saw six minutes of action on opening night. Bell brings a bit of a different skill set to the table than Jones and Looney. He’s a versatile big who can guard multiple positions.

As the season goes on, what was once thought of as an area of weakness for the Warriors, might turn out to be a position of strength. And if that occurs, that bodes ill for the rest of the league.

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NBA Daily: Instant Reactions From Day One

With the NBA beginning its new season last night, Matt John analyzes all that’s happened so far in the season’s first two NBA games.

Matt John

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The NBA is BACK everybody!

After an agonizing five-month wait, the 2018-2019 season was born Tuesday night. As always, the NBA likes to start off the season with only two games, but with four teams who should play a big role in how this season turns out.

This year, it was Boston against Philadelphia and Golden State against Oklahoma City. The best part about it is that, this time, nobody had to leave with a season-ending leg injury five minutes into the game, so it’s already better than last year’s opening night!

Now, of course, it’s a long season – which to every NBA junkie is a good thing – but since we only got a taste of what this year could bring, it’s only appropriate to air out some knee-jerk reactions after day one of the new NBA year.

Some of these reactions will be about the players. Others will be about the team in general.

Game One: Boston Celtics 105, Philadelphia 76ers 87

The Atlantic Division rivals had a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals. Despite what the final score may say, this was a tight game until Boston pulled away in the fourth. Both teams had the jitters, as the very first shot this season was an airball three-point attempt by Robert Covington. Boston missed its first five shot attempts, and Philadelphia made only one of its first six tries.

When both finally shook off the rust, it was a game of runs. When one team got going, the other followed suit. The Celtics may have led for most of the game, but the Sixers refused to back down.

What’s to think of how these teams did in their season opener? Let’s take a look.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Ben Simmons looked every bit like the reigning Rookie of the Year. In 43 minutes, Simmons put up a near-triple-double, scoring 19 points, corralling 15 rebounds and dishing out eight assists. He didn’t do much to disprove the skeptics who constantly point at his almost non-existent jump shot, but Simmons is such a freight train in transition that it might not even matter.
  • Joel Embiid put up a usual Joel Embiid stat line – 23 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, but he coughed up five turnovers and even committed a frustration foul or two. Aron Baynes and Al Horford always seem to give Embiid fits because they make him earn his buckets. If the Sixers hope to get past the Celtics, Embiid has to overcome their pesky defense.
  • Markelle Fultz looked a bit out of place. Putting up five points on 2-for-7 shooting, committing three turnovers and recording the lowest plus-minus with a minus-16 isn’t a good look for him. Still, he wasn’t a complete disaster, and Philadelphia knows he’s a work in progress.
  • The real disaster for the Sixers was their turnovers. Philadelphia led the league in turnovers last year with 16.4 per game. If they hope to improve on that, Tuesday night wasn’t the best start, as they surrendered 16 giveaways.
  • As talented as they are, the Sixers have some holes that need to be filled, primarily with their shooting. Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova gave the Sixers more floor spacing to help them go on that late-season surge last season. With them gone, the Sixers might have a spacing problem if neither Mike Muscala nor Wilson Chandler fills the void.

Boston Celtics

  • Coming into the season, many believed the Celtics’ calling card would be their depth, and the opening game showed why. The most notable statistic for them: Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward combined for 6-for-26 from the field, yet Boston still won by 18 points against a team many believe will be its toughest opponent in the conference.
  • While Irving looked off his game, Hayward definitely looked rusty. It’s been said that Hayward still lacks explosion off his left foot, and it definitely looked that way. Still, Hayward hit a few long jumpers and showed hustle and great defense. Even if he won’t be 100 percent from the get-go, the Celtics can afford to be patient.
  • Another telling statistic: The Celtics top nine rotation guys were in the game on a range from 19 to 30 minutes. If this is is what their minutes output will look like this season, then the Celtics’ stamina will be at an unfairly high level when the playoffs come around.
  • Both Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier continue to prove that their performance from last postseason was no fluke. Tatum continued to demolish any defender Philadelphia threw at him. Rozier, on the other hand, played well enough that Brad Stevens decided to go with him in the finishing lineup instead of Irving. To be fair, Irving couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.
  • The Celtics’ versatility also shined. Their starting lineup was Irving, Tatum, Hayward, Horford, and Jaylen Brown. To start the second half, they replaced Hayward with Baynes. Before Philadelphia waved the white flag, the Celtics’ finishing lineup was Horford, Hayward, Tatum, Rozier, and Marcus Smart. Should they stay healthy, the Celtics have limitless options.

Game Two: Golden State Warriors 108, Oklahoma City Thunder 100

We got round three of Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant. The only problem? No Westbrook, as he sat out to rest his knee. Despite missing both Westbrook and Andre Roberson, the Thunder made the Warriors work for the win. Though the game looked like a typical Warriors route in the beginning, the Thunder impressively kept up with the reigning NBA champions until the very end.

The Warriors won because, well, they’re the Warriors. They’re a ridiculously talented team that shouldn’t be slowing down anytime soon. Although, this matchup should become all the tighter when the Thunder become fully healthy. Onto the reactions!

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • The headline for these guys: Moral Victory. OKC gave Golden State all they could handle – even taking the lead at one point – down to the final minute. That’s not an easy task when you’re down your best player and arguably your best defender. Even if the season started with a loss, the Thunder can only build off of this.
  • Goodness, the Thunder might just be the most athletic team in the league. Aside from world-class athletes such as Westbrook and Paul George, OKC has some high-flyers including Terrance Ferguson, Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel and Hamidou Diallo. No matter how good they’ll be this season, we should brace ourselves for some exciting dunks from the Thunder this season.
  • Props should go to George, Steven Adams, and Dennis Schroder for not backing down in their time of adversity – especially Schroder. Filling in for a former MVP candidate on a good team is no easy task, so his performance should really excite Thunder fans.
  • While the Thunder are in salary cap hell and it may be difficult, they need to do everything in their power to get more shooting. Last season they tied for No. 24 in three-point shooting percentage at 35.4 percent from deep. The only team that ranked lower was the Spurs. If they want to make noise, they need a pure shooter on that team. It could open up so many possibilities for them.
  • Billy Donovan could find himself on the hot seat this season. Since Kevin Durant’s departure, the Thunder have only mustered three playoff wins in the last two years. Now that George is committed long-term and the Thunder have re-tooled, he has to feel good about himself after their game against the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors

  • No matter how much fans outside of the Bay Area hate them together, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant make beautiful basketball together. On their ring night opener at Oracle Arena, they combined for 59 points on 20-for-41 shooting and 15 assists. It may be frustrating, but it has always been a spectacle. Even if this is the last year they play together, Durant and Curry should go down as one of the league’s most potent scoring duos to ever play together.
  • Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Klay Thompson or Draymond Green – at least in regards to this game. Neither of them was impressive to start the season. Thompson had 15 points on 5-for-20 shooting, including 1-for-8 from the perimeter. Green had two points on 1-for-6 shooting with six turnovers. His 13 rebounds made up for it, but it still was not his best performance.
  • Who would have guessed that centers Damian Jones and Kevon Looney would play a big part in the Warriors toppling the Thunder? The two of them combined for 22 points and 13 rebounds on 11-for-18 shooting. If either of them has a legitimate role on the team, then the Warriors may have more frontcourt depth than we might’ve thought.
  • It feels weird to say that the Warriors aren’t actually fully healthy at the moment with DeMarcus Cousins out indefinitely. It’s almost as if him being on the team is overkill. Though the Warriors’ act has grown tiresome, thinking of what this team could be with Cousins should excite any basketball junkie out there.

Overall, it was a satisfactory day one for the young season. The biggest takeaway is that the NBA has returned, which should make everyone as giddy as can be.

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NBA Daily: What’s Next In Portland And Orlando?

With the passing of Rich DeVos in Orlando and Paul Allen in Portland, what’s next for those franchises?

Steve Kyler

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What’s Next In Portland And Orlando?

The NBA lost two massively influential owners this year in Orlando’s Rich DeVos and yesterday’s news of the passing of Blazers’ owner Paul Allen.

While it’s early in the process, there is a growing sense in both situations that the teams both titans owned will likely change hands in the not so distant future.

Here is what we know at this point:

In Orlando’s case, the team’s ownership was moved into a family trust some time ago, with the prevailing hope from the elder DeVos that the team would stay in the family after his passing. The team is currently controlled by Dan DeVos, who is chairman and governor of the team.

DeVos has said recently that the family has no intentions of selling the team, yet there are not very many in NBA circles believe that will be the case in the longer term.

The Magic are one of the teams to watch in terms of changing owners, however, they are not a team that can relocate given the very restrictive lease terms they agreed to when they landed their arena deal.

Another factor with the future of the Magic is the massive development taking place across from the Amway Arena that’s been led by the current Magic ownership. The project is just getting underway, and league sources believe the value of the Magic franchise could take a big jump up once that project is finished.

There has been talk for some time in NBA circles that current Clippers head coach Doc Rivers would have interest in an ownership stake in the Magic should the team become available. The same is true of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who currently has a minority stake in the Sacramento Kings. O’Neal has been vocal over the years that he’s ready to talk should the Magic hit the market.

In Portland’s case, obviously, the news of Paul Allen’s sudden passing makes the Blazers future murky. Allen’s holding company Vulcan Inc. technically owns the team, and the belief is nothing will change on that front in the short term.

As John Canzano chronicled for the Oregonian, Allen’s sister Jody is his closest surviving relative and there is a sense she may not want to own the Blazers in the medium-term.

Bert Kolde, who is Vice Chairman of the Trail Blazers, will continue to run the day to day aspects of the business according to reports and insiders. There is some concern that, with Allen’s passing, the unlimited green light to spend and acquire assets that had become so common under Allen’s leadership may not be as aggressive.

During the summer, one insider commented that the Blazers were always active in trying to move around for draft picks and assets and never afraid to leverage cash to get things done. That may change with Allen’s passing.

If the Blazers hit the market, and many expect that they might in the near term, it’s believed re-locating the franchise wouldn’t be a consideration, especially with how successful Portland has been as a smaller NBA media market.

One thing to keep in mind is that, with NBA franchise valuations well over the $1 billion mark, a fast transaction in either team’s situation isn’t likely.

As with all things in the NBA, these are fluid situations, especially with the Blazers – so both will be situations to watch.

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