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.
Tyler Herro, obviously, is the target; however, I believe the pot must be sweetened significantly beyond a simple package of Kelly Olynyk (once he accepts his player option) and he for Holiday.
Holiday could opt out of his contract after the upcoming season. Herro will be under club control at a great price for several years. Furthermore, Pat Riley made his excitement known immediately after the Heat drafted Herro, and following the games in the bubble, one has to think the guard out of Kentucky might be close to, if not completely, untouchable.
The only thing that gives any hope to the alternative is the fact that Miami came within two games of beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Holiday makes that unit a better team instead of Herro right this second. This fact likely won’t hold true 2-3 years from now — or perhaps even less, but for a fire-breathing competitor like Riley, who must surround a 31-year-old Jimmy Butler with players most ready to help the cause now, a Holiday-Hero swap has to at least be entertained.
Seriously, how much can you continue to rely on a 34-year-old Goran Dragic (if he’s re-signed) who has missed a lot of time to injury the last few seasons?
Assuming the Pelicans’ front office is high on Herro, they should propose flipping 2020 first round picks with Miami. Thus, the offer becomes the 20th overall pick + Herro + Olynyk for Holiday + the 13th overall pick. If Riley still balks, David Griffin could consider adding another asset to the mix, say one of New Orleans second round picks, Nicolo Melli, or gulp, Josh Hart.
Yes, that would become an agonizing price tag, but if New Orleans’ front office has an unwavering belief in a Herro-Ingram-Zion core, that looks to be the steep cost of doing business with Miami.
The Warriors are another team that has plenty of interest in adding a good player in his prime to a fantastic core. In the ever-loaded Western Conference, a move like this could get them over the hump.
The deal: Andrew Wiggins + the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft for Jrue Holiday.
Wiggins appeared in only 12 games with Golden State, but it’s difficult to imagine an inefficient volume scorer is the right guy to keep next to Steph, Klay and Draymond. Wiggins’ defense, while hinting improvement, isn’t close to Holiday’s level yet. Moreover, Jrue is more willing to take a backseat on offense.
While a Wiggins for Holiday flip would force Thompson to slide over to small forward, the Warriors, who are projected to be in the luxury tax next season, would save some coin in the deal. Perhaps this would incentivize them a little more to make use of a $17.2 million trade exception to bring in further reinforcements.
The crux of a Holiday-Wiggins deal boils down to just how much the Pelicans value the second pick in the 2020 Draft. There are no obvious superstars waiting to spring from this group. So, New Orleans must be higher than most on someone near the top of this draft in order to agree paying Wiggins an exorbitant amount of money for the remaining three years of his contract.
In the event Griffin wants to push the trigger but Golden State needs a little extra incentive, New Orleans could send a pick back to the Warriors, perhaps as high as their own first rounder.
Catch all the details of these proposals plus variations of them and other trade deals we’ve devised concerning the Heat and Warriors on our latest podcast featuring Kevin Barrios, David Fisher, David Grubb and myself!