J.J. Redick, now clearly the Clippers' third-best player (at least unless Lance Stephenson surprises us or a quality acquisition shocks us), has drawn a little bit of flack recently for an interview he did on BleacherReport Radio with Nicole Zoloumis yesterday. You've probably at least seen his excerpt, but in case you haven't, here it is:
Zaloumis: How do you feel the Clippers have done?
Redick: F. Is there an F minus? [He'd already said "F" twice while she was talking]
Zaloumis: Is that possible? An F-minus. Wow.
Redick: We had one priority this summer, and that was to re-sign D.J., and we missed out on that, so barring some miracle, you know, our makeup of our team is completely different now.
All of a sudden, Redick has been pegged as disloyal and while there's been no solid rumors, fans have reacted immediately with the assumption that the Clippers will trade him following such a "disrespectful" criticism of the front office. Now, I might not agree with J.J.'s analysis (I'd at least say the grade is incomplete until we know who DJ's replacement is), but that doesn't make it not valid. The Clippers went from an All-NBA 3rd team C who was All-Defensive 1st team to... rumors of JaVale McGee, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Cole Aldrich. It's an underwhelming and disappointing downgrade and no matter how we talk about the Clippers' options in trades and small-ball lineups, the best-case scenario with any contingency would get the Clippers back to where they were. Re-signing DJ would have been the sure thing.
The Clippers' off-season is far from over. They only have eight players with guaranteed deals (including new acquisitions Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, and Paul Pierce), and with a portion of their MLE remaining, several holes to fill, and trade rumors circling, the final roster could have a half-dozen new names when all is said and one.
But that's beside the point. J.J. Redick was honest. In an era of fans and media alike railing against athletes like Russell Westbrook and MarShawn Lynch for giving non-answers in press availabilities, how can we blame an athlete for a candid and honest answer? What sort of hypocrisy is that? Reactions like this, to an honest and candid answer, are exactly the reason why some guys give reporters nothing to work with. If Redick had chanted out a company line from a Clippers PR representative, something like, "Obviously losing DeAndre was a blow and I'll miss playing with him greatly, but we all have great faith in the front office and we're excited about the new acquisitions", he'd get criticized or dismissed for regurgitating press release fodder.
He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, but why should he be damned for either? He didn't throw Doc Rivers under the bus or put the organization on blast. He was honest and fair in his assessment, and he should be allowed to be. I'm sure that if Doc Rivers was to honestly assess the last week, he'd have a pretty poor grade too. One assignment was 75% of the total class grade and the Clippers didn't get it turned in on time. Can they patch together an acceptable project and turn it in late for partial credit to salvage a decent off-season grade? Absolutely. For now, do they have a 0 in the grade book for the "Center" column? Absolutely.
So, no, J.J. Redick's comments weren't a big deal. No, he's not on the trading block after a non-story cast him as a traitor in the eyes of some reactionaries on the internet. We can all take a deep breath on this one.