I have now gone through all the members of the Sixers roster that played last year, so now I’m left with the guys who never played in a game last year. The first of these is SG Jason Richardson, the oldest player on the roster and the only guy that’s over 30 years old. At 33 years old, he’s been in the league for 12 years and is clearly on the decline in his career. The Sixers picked him up two years ago in the big trade that landed Dwight Howard on the Lakers. He played in 33 games for the Sixers the next year before injuring his knee, which kept him out for the rest of the season. He spent all of last season recovering from the injury, and is still up in the air as to when he can play.
While it’s not like having Richardson as a healthy part of the roster will change much, it is still annoying that he has missed so much time for the little time that he’s played in a Sixers uniform. Unsurprisingly, he picked up his player option for next year, which will pay him $6.6 million. This makes him the second highest paid player on the roster behind Thad Young’s $9.2 million salary. I honestly don’t think that the Sixers would care if Richardson played next year or not. They’re still not going to be in the playoff hunt next year (well, probably not), and with Richardson’s contract ending after that, he really doesn’t matter. He’s just an expensive, expiring contract that they’ll keep in order to stay above the salary cap floor.
But, since he’s staying on the roster next year, I guess I don’t really have a choice as to what I’d do with him. Since he already picked up the player option, he’s here to stay for at least one more year. If he comes back from his injury and actually plays, then he won’t get many minutes because they already would have James Anderson and Tony Wroten on the roster as shooting guards, in addition to whatever SG they draft. Actually, if Richardson intends on playing, it could affect what they’d do with Anderson. They might choose not to re-sign him, or they could push him to SF and have him be the backup to whoever they draft to start at that position.
Richardson isn’t a bad player…he’s actually a well-respected veteran who has accomplished a lot in his career. But in the situation he’s in with the Sixers, there’s really nothing they can do with him at this point other than let him ride out his contract. It was high enough of a player option for him to want to take it, so he did. I don’t blame him at all. When it comes down to it, he doesn’t add much to the team other than an old, aching veteran. But if the Sixers trade Young, he could be the only real veteran on the roster…oh well, they want to go young (again, no pun intended).
Verdict: keep him around since they have no choice