The Rockets had quite a successful offseason. They traded for Chris Paul, signed P.J. Tucker, Tarik Black, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and also resigned one of their own in free agent center Nene.
They were also rumored to be in hot pursuit of another former Clipper in J.J. Redick. Redick ended up signing a one-year, $23 million deal with the Phildelphia 76ers, but apparently, he was this close to also becoming a Rocket. According to Redick, he would have been if not for some last-minute wavering from Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
Redick claims Morey dropped his contract offer from a four-year deal to a three-year, causing the three-point specialist to reconsider. Redick said:
"They offered four years and then they went three. Daryl always has a million things going on, like in A Beautiful Mind with all of the stuff written on the chalkboard. I'm sure he had four or five deals out there he was working on. The day before free agency, I thought it was a four-year deal. Chris Paul and I talked for about 30 minutes the night before free agency started. I wanted to go there.”
Redick also cited Morey’s tendencies to go big in the trade market after superstars as another reason he decided not to sign with Houston. He was worried that despite signing a multi-year deal, that Morey could literally send him packing at any time. Redick said:
"(It didn't work out) – some of it was numbers and some of it was other factors like relocating the family and – I hate to say this – but you never know with Daryl and how he operates. A three-year deal could really be a six-month deal if you get dealt at the trade deadline for a superstar as part of a package of six."
In the past, there’s been some rumors out there and also some concerns from Rockets fans that Morey’s gunslinging nature, consistent pursuit of superstar talent, and willingness to deal just about anyone could, at some point, come back to bite him. And it appears those fears came to fruition in the Redick scenario.
Redick was miffed enough about the situation to take a one-year deal (albeit a high-paying one) with a significantly inferior team than the Rockets. Houston should be competing for a title this year, while the 76ers, despite some future potential, will be lucky if they can challenge for the final playoff spot out East.
While Redick’s three-point shooting would have been a great fit in H-town, at least this wasn’t a major loss. And it’s not like the Rockets haven’t been a desirable destination for others.
They had no trouble convincing Paul, Tucker, Black, and Mbah a Moute to play in Houston, and the Rockets are also the only team in the NBA Carmelo Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause for. A chance to win and win big and to play alongside big-time talent almost always trumps everything. But apparently not for Redick.
You can’t really fault the guy for taking a huge payoff on his one-year deal in Philly, though. And with the chance to become a free agent again next offseason, the 33-year-old Redick could still find a long-term deal somewhere to finish out his career. So it wasn’t exactly a terrible move.
Redick did also cite the possibility of the blossoming talent in Philadelphia, with the 76ers full of young, untapped talent. But who knows if the guy will even be around in Philly when — and if — that talent actually comes to fruition.
While I have been in favor of a Redick signing in the past, consider it a blessing in disguise now for the Rockets, who needn’t waste major bucks on a mostly one-dimensional player who’s not placing an utmost premium on winning (strange for a guy heading into the back-end of his career).
Not signing Redick left Houston money for their other offseason moves, mainly focused on defense, and they’re a better team for it.
Have fun struggling to get to .500 in Philly, J.J.