Now that Markelle Fultz’s ankle injury appears not to be too serious, the 76ers can exhale and start focusing on training camp.
Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick from the University of Washington, has been ruled out for the remainder of the summer league to rest his balky ankle.
Obviously, all eyes have been on Fultz since the NBA Draft took place.
Earlier this month — July 1, to be exact – the Sixers took a major step forward in their progress as an organization when they agreed to terms with free agent guard J.J. Redick. The one-year, $23 million deal is now official and proves to the rest of the league that the young Sixers are willing to spend money in moving their program forward from the 75 total wins in the last four combined seasons.
This move was big for many reasons, especially with Redick being willing to join an up-and-coming team.
“I’m just really excited to be a part of the Sixers family,” Redick said. “Truthfully, for the eight weeks between the season and free agency, as we got closer and closer to free agency, I wanted to be in Philadelphia. That was the place I wanted to be. I thought it was the best fit. When the trade happened around the draft it just really solidified my feelings about where I wanted to be. Getting to meet with Bryan and coach (Brett) Brown and basically, the whole Sixers organization was just a great experience and now I’m just really excited.”
The 33-year-old Redick fills a monumental gap – shooting. He hit nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc last season for the Los Angeles Clippers. Over the last four years, shooting has been a constant problem for the Sixers.
Redick can make shots. He can now pave the way for other marquee names to sign in Philadelphia as it continues to build back to the playoffs.
“I told Brett Brown this when we met on July 1, the Sixers haven’t been very good,” Redick said. “There’s something about his disposition, the way he has coached this basketball team, the way he has embraced the process. The spirit of the Sixers has never been broken. That speaks volumes to coach Brown. To be honest, he was probably the biggest factor in this decision. He is someone I have watched and I’ve wanted to play for. I’m thrilled to be playing for him next year. For me personally, that was the biggest thing. Just the fit of playing in his system and of course the young talent this team has and where I fit and sort of complement their talents, I think it’s a great match.”
Getting to this point in free agency has been a gargantuan task. This is a big-time first step.
“It speaks to the temperature in the market right now, people are looking at us as an up-and-coming team,” President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo said. “A wealth of young talent that is on the cusp of something special. We’ve put ourselves in a position, obviously, to have the flexibility to add players like this. To be considered a positive place and a really exciting destination, we’ve turned the corner in that regard.”
As Fultz’s ankle heals and prepares to join Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Redick, the Sixers are expected to improve. Adding Redick will make them even better. If they have a successful season, another draft class and free agency could really push them to the next level.
And they’ll have Redick to thank for starting the chain of events.