The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Boston Celtics have emerged as a potential destination for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. The Celtics have reportedly been very active in the recent days as the NBA Draft is less than a week away. Jrue Holiday has also been a name that has been very popular in trade talks lately, and now, the two rumors have converged into a super rumor – Jrue Holiday to the Celtics.
Sources: The Celtics have emerged as a potential destination for Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. Boston could package its three firsts (14, 26, and 30) to move into the lottery and flip the pick to New Orleans. More details and rumors in my latest mock draft: https://t.co/MWGF6RSakS— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 12, 2020
In KOC’s mock draft, he reports that Boston has had discussions about flipping all three of its picks (14, 26 and 30) for another lottery pick and then flipping THAT lottery pick to New Orleans. This tracks well with two separate rumors that have emerged – the Celtics want to consolidate picks and the Pelicans are looking for an additional lottery pick. It stands to reason that the Pelicans would prefer to get an extra lottery pick in any Jrue Holiday deal, so at least from a logical standpoint, this rumor holds up.
KOC also mentioned that in any Jrue Holiday trade – picks consolidated or not – the Celtics would need to give up salary. Makes sense. He speculates that maybe either Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker could be on the move. A Hayward trade would be intriguing, especially on the heels of Danny Ainge’s presser from yesterday in which he said that the opt-in date for players with a player option (like Hayward) will come shortly after the draft but before free agency (basically Thursday).
Would New Orleans be willing to make a Jrue Holiday trade without even knowing what Hayward’s going to do in a potential deal surrounding him? Would they even care if he opted out? Would they prefer if he opted out and make the deal centered on that fact? There’s a lot to consider.
Kemba Walker had a great first season in Boston. Although the returns on his health and in the second and third round of the playoffs could be considered disappointing my some measures, he’s in Year 1 of a four-year deal. He was also really good this past season. Does Boston want to give up on a major free agent signing just one year in for another player in his 30s while adding no draft capital? Does New Orleans want Kemba Walker for 3 more years? What would they do with Lonzo Ball in this circumstance? Again, a lot of questions.
In my humble opinion that means nothing, I’d say that Gordon Hayward is more likely to be traded if this rumor pans out. It makes more sense for New Orleans to not want to commit to long-term money, add another lottery pick, and at least get a forward who would fit well next to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in the interim should he opt in. Again, this is me just spitballing.
(The Celtics could still largely run it back next year and still have a great chance of making the Finals next year just as an aside.)
Adding Jrue Holiday at the cost of Gordon Hayward would be an end to the three wings experiment that honestly was a success this past year. It would also mean adding one of the best defensive guards in the league who averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds on 45.5% from the field, a league average 35% from the 3-point line and 70.9% from the free-throw line.
There will be a lot of questions between now and Wednesday night’s draft.