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Examining the potential of the Pelicans trading Jrue Holiday to the Celtics, Nets and Pacers

Jrue Holiday Trade Packages, Part IV: Three teams perhaps likeliest to be involved in some form of a Holiday deal

Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

During the last offseason, The Bird Writes explored a bevy of trade scenarios involving Anthony Davis. With news that Jrue Holiday is seemingly more available on the market than ever, it’s time to repeat the exercise for the New Orleans favorite.

Make no mistake, it brings no joy to scour the league for potential Holiday landing spots. He’s the ultimate class act who has dedicated countless hours of making the Pelicans a better team these past seven seasons while also throwing his full support behind the New Orleans community.

In short: it’s going to really, really suck having to say goodbye one day.

While there’s a chance that Holiday and management can come to terms on an extension, the likelihood seems small. Reading the tea leaves and understanding NBA economics, it feels that he and the Pelicans are going to go their separate ways sometime before the next trade deadline. However, if there’s one satisfying side to the possible divorce, it’s that both parties will be better off in the long run for it — Jrue can seek greener pastures while New Orleans adds a vital third piece that can grow with the Zion Williamson/Brandon Ingram core.

So as to not belabor the thought any further of Holiday playing for a different team soon, here’s our favorite trade proposals regarding the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers.

Boston Celtics

With Kevin O’Connor recently revealing that the Celtics were looking to morph their three first round picks into one selection high in the lottery and exchange it for Jrue Holiday, a potential trade between Boston and New Orleans must be explored.

Eliot’s proposals:

  • Jrue Holiday for Kemba Walker + a top 10 draft pick
  • Jrue Holiday + #13 for Marcus Smart + Romeo Langford + Daniel Theis + top 10 draft pick

I have difficultly imagining the first transaction coming to fruition. Holiday and Kemba are close in age, but Kemba has three years left on his deal (final year is a player option) — at $35 million or more per season. When you also factor in the health of his left knee, why would David Griffin saddle the books with one of the heftiest contracts in the league for a team not in championship contender mode? The payout here would only be a single pick from an uninspiring draft.

From the Celtics’ perspective, Danny Ainge would have to pay a 15% trade kicker during diminished economic times and the image of shipping out Kemba after just one season — when he was brought in ceremoniously and lavished often before the pandemic hit — would reflect poorly on the Boston franchise.

Gordon Hayward is an expiring contract, but I cannot envision Griffin settling for him and a top pick in the draft either. It would practically signal wasting a year of Ingram and ZIon’s youth because it’s incredibly unlikely Hayward gets re-signed in New Orleans.

No, Griffin will demand either more assets in return or some combination of a draft asset and a good young player as he did in dealing Anthony Davis.

To be honest, I believe for Griffin to select Boston from among the rest of Holiday’s suitors, either Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown might have to sit on the table. How Ainge would keep Celtic fans from rioting in the streets is anyone’s guess, but that’s his problem.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have long been one of our favorites to use in constructing a deal for Holiday due to simplicity and previous history. Indiana showed a lot of interest in Jrue by pursuing him before New Orleans re-signed him in 2017. Also, they have two valuable bigs in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but the modern game frowns upon that — they would best be served by sitting on separate teams.

David Grubb’s proposals:

  • Jrue Holiday for Myles Turner and Doug McDermott
  • Jrue Holiday + Taurean Prince —> Indiana; Spencer Dinwiddie + Myles Turner —> New Orleans; Victor Oladipo + TJ McConnell + Pels 2nd round pick —> Brooklyn

A deal with Indiana admittedly made a lot more sense when everyone believed Oladipo was headed out the door in the upcoming free agency period. Holiday would have fit snugly next to Malcolm Brogdon, potentially realizing his dream of playing alongside his brothers (Aaron and Justin), while Turner would have seamlessly plugged the Pelicans’ hole at center. Now it feels a third team is necessary to get a deal done.

Would Brooklyn consider adding Oladipo if it means they get to keep Caris LeVert (or ship him elsewhere)? Maybe, maybe not, but one has to think that some team looking to upgrade their roster could find common ground with Indiana and New Orleans as they both have multiple pieces to make plenty of deals work.

Brooklyn Nets

At long last we get to the team that’s been linked to Jrue Holiday probably most often: Sean Marks’ Nets.

Soon after Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant landed in Brooklyn, many began to ponder who would best fit as the complementary third star. This remains a big talking point across NBA circles, but it soon must be solved.

While that role could still be filled by Caris LeVert, most believe his fit isn’t ideal — three ball dominant playmakers needing to share the same basketball sounds problematic. Thus, enter Jrue Holiday, a fantastic two-way player who doesn’t mind taking a back seat on offense.

David Fisher’s simplest and juiciest variations:

  • Jrue Holiday for Caris LeVert + Jarrett Allen + Taurean Prince
  • Jrue Holiday —> Brooklyn; Caris LeVert + Garrett Temple —> Atlanta; Kevin Huerter + Dewayne Dedmon + Robert Covington + #6 —> New Orleans; Jarrett Allen + #13 —> Houston

Holiday for three players who don’t scream star potential and the deal lacking a single future asset doesn’t feel like the direction Griffin is looking to take, especially with LeVert and Prince occupying space on the 2021 cap sheet.

The multi-team proposal, though, sounds a lot more inviting. Covington is the prototypical piece on paper to slide in between Zion and Ingram, Dedmon could soak up 20 minutes or so as the starting center, and Huerter and #6 satisfy filling future needs.


Catch all the details of these proposals plus variations of them and other trade deals we’ve devised concerning the Celtics, Nets and Pacers on our latest podcast featuring Kevin Barrios, David Fisher, David Grubb, Eliot Clough and myself!

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.

Previous Jrue Holiday Trade Podcasts: