Philadelphia 76ers: 5 opponents the fans will actually cheer for

(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

4. J.J. Redick

Friday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

During his two years on the Sixers, J.J. Redick was a fan favorite.

First of all, he was good as this strange thing he would do on the court called making a 3-point shot. These things called in modern vernacular ‘threes’ seemed to be used by other teams successfully, the Warrriors make the NBA finals using this oddity.

However, outside of Redick, three-point shooting seemed to completely baffle his teammates, particularly the point guard.

That is why Redick was such a key part of the 76ers offense. He basically served as Joel Embiid‘s sidekick, protecting the big guy in the low post with deadly dribble-handoffs for three-pointers.  Although he was 35 years old, Redick had a career-high scoring average of 18.1 points this past season (his second-highest was the pervious year with 17.1) as the Sixers were so dependent on him providing outside shooting that would draw the defense away from Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Redick also was popular as he seemed like a ‘Philly guy’. His accomplishments were due to hard work, not incredible athleticism (which sometimes hurt him on defense). His dedication was legendary and he just seemed like a lunch pail, blue-collar guy and was quite popular with the fanbase.

He might have been higher in these rankings except for the circumstances of his arrival and departure.

He came in 2017 when general manager Bryan Colangelo paid him $23 million for one year. To put that in perspective, he had never been paid more than $7.3 million in his career.

(A sour Sixers fan would point out he would have been worth that money if he had made that wide open three-pointer near the end of Game 5 vs. Boston).

Redick re-upped for another season at $12 million. Not as much as the previous year, but still way more than anyone else had ever paid him. The fact he lived in Brooklyn and could basically commute to work was another positive reason for him staying in Philly.

Then, on July 1, one of the first free agent deals announced was Redick signing a two-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans for $26.5 million. That is a pretty good haul for a 35-year-old with some defensive liabilities and no one can blame Redick for grabbing what is likely the last big contract opportunity of his career.

When the Sixers shortly afterwards announced they had signed Al Horford to a three-year, $97 million deal, most people assumed there had not been any salary cap space available for Redick and he was given a fond farewell.

Redick made sure the fans knew it was strictly a business decision. He took out a full-page ad in the Inquirer thanking the fans for their support of him.

Now, it has come to light that the 76ers did, in fact, make an offer to Redick. It was for three-years (the third being a player option and possibly stretched over three years) for a total of $20 million.

You do not have to be a math whiz or Dr. Sheldon Cooper to figure out that $26.5 million for two years is more money and less contractual obligations than $20 million over three, so Redick does not look bad heading to ‘Nawlins’ (also a winter in New Orleans compared to Philadelphia is not awful).

However, a diehard Sixer fan might think: “If J.J. really, truly wanted to stay a 76er, like he always said he wanted to, he could have.”

Yeah, he would have had to turn down more money, but it was not like the Sixers were asking him to sign for the veterans minimum . He actually would have been paid in the range he had been for his career until the Sixers threw a lot more money at him than he ever received before.

But when Zion Williamson and the Pels come in December, Redick’s time here and all he contributed to the Sixers success will most likely be foremost in the minds of fans.

He will receive: Sustained applause.