One of the smaller but more surprising trades that happened ahead of the March 25 deadline was when veteran sharpshooter JJ Redick was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Dallas Mavericks. In any other season, this would've been regarded as a solid trade for Dallas, and nothing more than that.
But there's an extra layer of confusion added to this trade, as it was widely reported in January that Redick wanted to play on a team closer to his family in Brooklyn, which would include any of the northeast teams: Nets, Knicks, Celtics and Sixers. Well, Redick wasn't granted any of his preferred destinations, and when the trade was executed, the 16-year veteran wasn't exactly thrilled.
Redick spoke of the trade on his podcast, The Old Man and the Three, on Wednesday:
"I was shocked, I was floored, I was not expecting at that point to get traded. This is not any sort of slight at the Dallas Mavericks, but the Mavericks were not any of the teams in any point in time that we had discussed. So I was a little jarred after and I called Mark [Cuban] and what I told Mark was in any other year I'd be thrilled to get traded to the Dallas Mavericks. It's one of the premier organizations, I think Rick [Carlisle] is one of the best coaches and as we just discussed, the opportunity to play with Luka [Doncic] and Kristaps [Porzingis] and all their guys -- they got a great team. It was just a little jarring."
Aside from the initial shock of being traded, and to a team that wasn't on his list of preferred destinations, Redick also divulged that he requested a trade in November, prior to the season starting. After the league announced its decision to forge ahead with a season starting on Christmas Day, which would include strict health and safety protocols and didn't allow for players to travel much outside of the city they were playing in, Redick realized he wanted to be near his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Redick said he had several conversations with the Pelicans front office, specifically with New Orleans' vice president David Griffin, and was assured that he would be put in the position he wanted when the time came.
"So I talk to Griff, I talk to Trajan. Griff basically says to me, 'Come down for a month. If you still want to be traded, I give you my word I'll get you to a situation that you like.' We've had subsequently four conversations. Again my agent talks to him, but I'm talking to Griff directly. That's how I wanted to handle this. Griff and I had a personal relationship, and obviously he did not honor his word. Again, that is not a slight on Dallas at all. My understanding basically from February on, once I was not traded at the aggregate deadline on Feb. 2, my understanding all along was that I was going to get a buyout. And if I was going to be traded, it was going to be to a team in the Northeast where I was closer to home and I'd be able to see my family for the last two or three months of the season. Obviously that didn't happen; geographically speaking, of course, Dallas is further away from New York than New Orleans."
It's not uncommon for a team to go back on their word of fulfilling a player's wish of being traded to a specific team or being bought out of their contract to sign anywhere they please. For New Orleans specifically, this isn't the first time they've been difficult to deal with from a player's perspective. The situation with Anthony Davis being the prime example, where he wanted to be traded to the Lakers, but the Pelicans took forever to facilitate a trade with a team that was all-in on trying to get him.
However, Redick was taken aback by New Orleans trading him to a team further away from his family because he thought he had a personal relationship with Griffin to the point where he could trust him.
"I don't think you're going to get honesty from that front office. Just objectively speaking. That's not an opinion, I just don't think you're going to get that. I don't think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident, either. But I do think across the league, front offices, they act in their own best interest. I get that, I understand that. I think truthfully -- and it's hard for me to admit this -- but I think I was a little naive in thinking that because I was in Year 15 and I had at least attempted to do things right throughout my career and I honored my end of the bargain — but in terms of this front office, it's not something where I would expect certainly the agents that worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again."
Although Redick wishes he could've been traded to a team closer to his family, he's still excited to play alongside Doncic, Porzingis and the other players on the Mavericks' roster. Redick hasn't been with the Mavericks since being traded, as he's currently rehabbing from an injury that has kept him sidelined for three weeks. However, he plans to have his first media session with the Mavericks on Thursday, where he'll join Dallas ahead of its game against the Knicks on Friday night.
If Redick is able to return to full health for Dallas, his shooting and floor spacing ability will help a Mavericks team that has been sorely lacking in reliable shooters. Redick started this season incredibly slow, shooting just 29.5 percent from deep through the first two months of the season. However, since February he's been making over 45 percent of his shots from long range, while averaging 13.8 points during that span. If he can continue that streak, then he'll significantly help Dallas for the remainder of the season.