By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
It’s been a wild week in the NBA, with Chris Paul and Paul George both traded even before the start of the July 1 free agency period. Meanwhile, the Sixers, having already made their big splash with the trade to acquire Markelle Fultz leading up to the draft, have since stayed on their slow and steady course. Friday, the team made a housekeeping move, waiving Gerald Henderson before his $9M contract became fully guaranteed on July 1. Instead, the team will have only $1M count against the cap this season.
Henderson, part of the first batch of veterans brought in by Bryan Colangelo to help establish a “winning culture”, averaged 9.2 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Sixers last season. He appeared in 72 games (starting 41), often playing through a nagging hip injury. Henderson’s 42.3 FG% was his worst mark since his rookie season, although his 35.3 3PT% tied a career-high, as his offensive game continues to progress behind the arc.
Henderson was a good soldier and I’m sure the young guys benefited from his imparted wisdom, but it was hard to see him fitting into the team’s future with Markelle Fultz in the backcourt and Furkan Korkmaz’s imminent arrival. The team was wise to open up an additional $8M in cap space.
What is Philadelphia going to do with its abundance of cap space? Reportedly, try to lure veterans in for big money, one year deals. The main target is former Clippers guard J.J. Redick.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) July 1, 2017
A career 41.5% shooter from three, Redick would be an ideal option to help stretch the floor and open the lane for Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. I would be completely on board with Colangelo’s goal of signing Redick for 1 year at over $20M, but at 33 years old, Redick is understandably seeking one last big long-term deal. Philadelphia being “close” to Brooklyn where Redick has a home isn’t enough incentive for him to pass up those added years of security. If Colangelo sticks to his guns about one year deals, it’s hard to see the sides coming to an agreement.
The other name linked to the Sixers on free agency eve was former Celtics big man Amir Johnson. Johnson and Colangelo have a relationship from the general manager’s days in Toronto. After falling further out of the Boston rotation in the playoffs in the spring, the 30-year-old Johnson would appear to be a candidate to jump at a big payday for one season. Personally, I think the team could better use $10-12M than by bringing in a guy on the downspring of his career mostly for his “veteranness”.
Ultimately, keeping quiet in free agency and extending Robert Covington might be the best course of action for the Sixers this summer. We’ll know more in the coming days of another crazy NBA offseason.