The Boston Celtics once again need bench scoring, and JJ Redick reportedly is available. Seems like the perfect fit, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
The Pelicans are open to dealing both Redick and fourth-year guard Lonzo Ball, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Tuesday, citing sources. Charania added that 5-10 New Orleans is expected to be active before the March 25 NBA trade deadline.
From his column:
A team that is expected to be prominent in the trade market picture, rival teams expect: The New Orleans Pelicans. The franchise is off to an uneven 5-10 start to the season. New Orleans has been receiving calls about the availability of Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick and has shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams, sources tell The Athletic. A move would create a clearer pathway for young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis in the Pelicans’ rotation.
The Celtics’ bench is better this season than it was in recent campaigns, but Boston’s second unit nevertheless could use a boost. And Redick, a veteran, proven scorer who over the course of his 14-year career has been one of the game’s best 3-point shooters, in theory would make a lot of sense for the Celtics.
The question, of course, is should Boston actually want to make a deal?
First, let’s talk salary.
Redick will make just north of $13 million this season, the final year of a two-year deal he signed with the Pelicans. The Celtics, thanks to their Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets, have a record-setting $28.5 million trade exception at their disposal. So, the money absolutely can work.
(Note: Teams are not limited to using their trade exceptions on acquiring a single player. The Celtics could use the $28.5 million to sign/trade for multiple players, rather than using it all on one high-priced acquisition.)
So, what would the Celtics have to give up?
It’s difficult to say. Boston could avoid using the trade exception by moving Marcus Smart and his $13.83 million salary straight up for Redick, but there’s no way the C’s are doing that. Far more likely would be packaging draft picks and/or a young player like Romeo Langford, then using the exception. Whether such a package would be enough to outbid other contenders potentially interested in trading for Redick is anyone’s guess.
But is Redick a player the Celtics even should want to use their exception on?
It depends. Which version of Redick would they be getting?
A career 41 percent 3-point shooter, Redick averaged 16.3 points per game over the last seven seasons while shooting 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from long distance. However, at 36 years old, Redick is having perhaps his worst season as a pro.
His 30 percent 3-point percentage would be a career low, as would his 33 percent field-goal percentage. His 8.1 points per game are the lowest he’s averaged since the 2008-09 campaign, as are his 20.5 minutes per game.
So, is Redick washed up, or is he just off to a slow start with a bad team? That’s something Danny Ainge must decide. Redick did shoot 45 percent from 3-point range last season, suggesting he still has something left in the tank.
Verdict: Do the trade.
Again, the Celtics’ bench isn’t horrible, but it still ranks 19th in the NBA in scoring. Redick, while not as athletic as Javonte Green nor as true of a point guard as Jeff Teague or Payton Pritchard, still would be a useful addition to Boston’s backcourt.
Plus, Redick loves shooting 3s, and few teams enjoy chucking it up from beyond the arc more than the Celtics.