Once again, Jrue Holiday finds his name swirling in the rumor mill.
According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, approximately ten teams have shown interest in the eight-year New Orleans Pelicans guard, with the Denver Nuggets especially eager to acquire him via trade.
Following the hire of Stan Van Gundy yesterday, however, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine Holiday getting moved during this offseason. The Pelicans have shown their hand. There is going to be interest in competing at a high level — a pursuit of a spot in the next playoffs should be the expectation. Unless a deal can be reached with another team that instantly strengthens both rosters, Holiday will not be changing his address soon.
The addition of a 61-year-old coach to the bench, one who was careful in selecting his next place of employment, should prevent any immediate weakening of New Orleans’ roster and one has to believe this would definitely include voluntarily relinquishing one of the best two-way players in the game.
In his Tier 3 notes, Seth pointed out that Jrue is a #1 option who guards #1 options. It's surprisingly rare! Pre-bubble there were just 16 players who had:— Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper) October 21, 2020
1. Directly contributed on 20% of offensive possessions and
2. Spent 20% of defensive possessions guarding a #1 option https://t.co/Um8G60w6Zw pic.twitter.com/I3ETUo0jOI
Had the Pelicans brought in a younger head coach, which would have signaled a path of greater patience with the roster and set a different timetable for team success, Holiday and other veterans like JJ Redick would have been viewed more expendable.
In my opinion, we should anticipate David Griffin’s front office to hold off on entertaining nearly all trade ideas involving Holiday at least until the next trade deadline. If New Orleans isn’t performing up to expectation several months into next season, then a shake-up in the form of moving Holiday becomes a much more appropriate option.
Holiday is under contract through 2022, but his final season (2021-22) is a player option. Whether he accepts or leaves that course of action on the table is anyone’s guess, but the prudent move for Griffin is to act as though Holiday is entering the final year of his deal.
If Holiday is fitting swimmingly into Van Gundy’s schemes and New Orleans is winning, extension talks should begin in earnest. If not, a reset of the roster should be explored thoroughly before the 2021 trade deadline. Watching an asset as valuable as Holiday leave in free agency must be avoided at all costs.
For now, expect the Pelicans’ front office to place their focus on putting together a strong lineup for Van Gundy — a plan that includes Jrue Holiday.