The New Orleans Pelicans agreed to trade JJ Redick to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, avoiding a potential buyout situation for the veteran guard. Sources told ESPN’s Andrew Lopez that the Pelicans sent Redick and forward Nicolo Melli to Dallas for forwards James Johnson and Wes Iwundu, as well as a 2021 second-round pick.
How much help can Redick provide to Dallas and how did New Orleans fare on this deal?
Kevin Pelton doles out business ratings for both teams.
The Mavericks get: JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli
Pelicans get: James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, 2021 second-round pick
Get more commercial grades from Pelton here
Last offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Seth Curry from the Mavericks for Josh Richardson in part because they wanted to fill the shooting gap left by losing JJ Redick in free agency in 2019. Now Dallas has traded for Redick in part to fill the remaining draft gap. losing Curry. Sadly, presumably the cycle won’t continue with the Pelicans trading for Curry next year.
The good news is that the Mavericks still have Richardson, allowing them to mix and match the two wings along with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith depending on the matchups. Shooting was a must for Dallas, which has fallen to the league average in terms of 3-point percentage after finishing 10th in 2019-20.
Despite his slow, highly publicized start to the season, Redick should help. After making six 3s in the Pelicans’ first game of the season, Redick was 3-for-26 (11.5%) in the next seven games, and his 3-point percentage was still below 30% when he was temporarily removed from rotation at the end of January. . Since then, however, Redick has made 46% of his 3s in February and March. There is no particular reason to expect him to be anything other than one of the best shooters in the league, health permitting.
About it: Redick hasn’t played since March 3, missing New Orleans’ last game before the All-Star break and then underwent a non-surgical procedure to relieve swelling in his right heel. Presumably, information on Redick’s status was a key part of the trade negotiations.
In the end, the Mavericks didn’t give up much here. Iwundu and Johnson, who saw regular minutes early in the season, have both fallen out of the rotation of late as Dallas has moved out of an early hole to seventh in the Western standings. The goal of the Mavericks will be to move to one more team to avoid having to participate in the play-in tournament. They are currently 1.5 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers in sixth place, two behind the Denver Nuggets in fifth and four behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Barring an entry tournament loss, Dallas’ second-round pick should land in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Projections based on ESPN’s Basketball Power Index place him 51st on average, which it means the Mavericks are unlikely to lose much of the pick.
In hindsight, it seems like the last offseason was probably the right time to move Redick. The combination of his shooting slump and injury likely helped erode an exchange market that may have been stronger when Redick was coming off a strong season.
At this point, it was worth the Pelicans taking whatever they could get in return. They haven’t necessarily missed Redick, going 4-4 in his absence with young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. picking up the extra minutes.
To avoid getting into the luxury tax by withdrawing Johnson’s contract, New Orleans also sent Melli with Redick to Dallas. After frequently playing as a 29-year-old rookie alongside Zion Williamson, Melli had seen just 241 minutes of action this season. The Pelicans are still close enough to the tax line that they will likely have to manage their 14th spot on the list by leaving it open between 10-day contracts to bypass the tax.