On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania revealed, on Twitter, that the New Orleans Pelicans “are openly discussing star Jrue Holiday in trade talks” and that multiple contending teams are interested.
Holiday is a monster defender on positions one through three and a quality offensive contributor with his scoring and playmaking. It’s no wonder teams are interested in him. Some teams should go all-in.
Los Angeles Lakers
Whenever there is a storm of trade rumours around a player, it will include the LA Lakers. Holiday would not only relieve the pressure to bring Rajon Rondo back but is also a massive upgrade. He beats Rondo defensively and as a scorer, only trailing Rondo in playmaking potentially. Players renowned primarily for their defense, like Holiday, are often team-first players, he’d have no problem taking on that playmaking role left by Rondo.
Then comes the question of what and who the trade would include and whether the Pelicans should ever deal with the Lakers again – thanks to the daylight robbery of the AD trade.
To have any chance of the New Orleans front office giving the Lakers any chance at a deal, Kyle Kuzma will need to be included.
LA Lakers receive: Jrue Holiday
NO Pelicans receive: Quinn Cook, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma
No picks involved. Just a player swap. The Pelicans receive two good, young-ish players in Kuzma and Cook to help with the rebuild. They also take the contract of Danny Green, to try and balance the books for the Lakers who are taking on Holiday’s $26 million salary.
The Heat surprised everyone in the playoffs. When they got to the finals, more people brushed them off than maybe should have (including myself). Now Pat Riley is tasked with keeping them there. Jrue Holiday would be perfect for that.
Miami Heat receive: Jrue Holiday
NO Pelicans receive: Kelly Olynyk (player option), Kendrick Nunn, 2022 second-round pick
Holiday is perfect for Miami. He would fit perfectly alongside Jimmy Butler in the rotation and the Heat’s perimeter defense would be up there with the league’s best.
For the Pelicans, Kelly Olynyk isn’t exactly perfect, but he’s a hard worker and would contribute fantastically off the bench. Kendrick Nunn still shows the occasional flash of quality, which New Orleans will look to bring out on a more consistent basis and the draft pick is just a deal sweetener. Pelicans fans wouldn’t be too pleased with this one, but it’s something.
With the first pick in the draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have to be considered. With everyone knowing the Wolves want to trade the first pick for a win-now player, you can bet your house exec Gersson Rosas is trying to get involved here.
Minnesota needs defense and more playmaking wouldn’t go amiss. So what would they need to give?
Minnesota Timberwolves receive: Jrue Holiday
NO Pelicans receive: James Johnson, Jacob Evans, 2020 First Round pick (1st)
As much as Wolves fans may dream of landing a superstar like Ben Simmons or Devin Booker with the first pick, the 2020 draft class just doesn’t contain the quality for teams to give up stars without quality roster assets. Outside of Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russel, the Wolves have none.
James Johnson is involved to balance out the salaries (and give more veteran leadership to the Pels) and Jacob Evans is a sweetener. The No.1 pick is the big thing here and yet, Minnesota will still struggle to put in an offer that’ll take interest.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Jrue Holiday
NO Pelicans receive: CJ McCollum
This is the most out-there trade I’ve seen (credit to Bleacher Report for this one). However, it would benefit both sides.
Portland’s defense was the league’s fourth-worst this past season. Jrue Holiday, again, would tremendously boost this. He’d also be able to provide a similar level of scoring as CJ McCollum (it wouldn’t be a massive drop-off), though not in the same way.
For New Orleans, however, McCollum offers a valuable scoring option on the perimeter. If Brandon Ingram leaves for new pastures, the Pelicans won’t have that scorer outside. McCollum has experience playing off-ball to Damian Lillard and is also good at running an offense, so could impact the Pelicans’ defense with Lonzo Ball on and off the court.
Teams around the NBA are lining up to show the Pelicans what they can give. We don’t really know who’s in the drivers seat yet.
The qualities Jrue Holiday would bring to any team are invaluable.