Jrue Holiday Reportedly a Target for Knicks in Free Agency

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 13:  Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 13, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, who can become an unrestricted free agent following the 2016-17 season, is reportedly a target for the New York Knicks.

Ian Begley of ESPN.com reported Tuesday that league sources confirmed the Knicks are expected to enter the Holiday sweepstakes if he hits the open market this summer after team president Phil Jackson previously expressed interest. Begley noted there will likely be plenty of competition for the guard, though.

Holiday is enjoying a solid campaign for the Pelicans. He's averaging 15.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc across 45 games. He sat out the start of the season to care for his wife, former U.S. Soccer star Lauren Holiday, and their newborn daughter.

The 26-year-old UCLA product has developed into a reliable orchestrator of an offense since the Philadelphia 76ers took him with the 17th overall pick in 2009. His player efficiency rating for the current campaign (17.46) ranks 15th out of 68 qualified point guards.

Meanwhile, the Knicks hoped their longtime pursuit of a starting point guard ended with the blockbuster acquisition of Derrick Rose. However, the 2011 Most Valuable Player still hasn't looked like the dynamic playmaker he was during his peak seasons with the Chicago Bulls after myriad injuries.

The 28-year-old Chicago native can also become an unrestricted free agent following the season after counting more than $21.3 million against the salary cap this year, according to Spotrac.

Letting Rose walk and signing Holiday to replace him is a sound plan on the surface. It's unclear if he wants to leave New Orleans, though.

He discussed the Pelicans' newly minted "Big Three" after their trade to acquire DeMarcus Cousins to play alongside him and Anthony Davis, as noted by the team's official Twitter feed.

"Obviously they want me here. They see me as a part of (the future)," Holiday said.

Going to New York wouldn't change Holiday's outlook aside from his being in a bigger market. He'd just be slated to team with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis rather than Davis and Cousins. The Knicks are 24-36 this season, while the Pelicans are 23-37.

That said, one thing's for sure: Jackson and the Knicks will be under pressure to make a big splash this summer, whether it's Holiday or another marquee asset, as the diehard fanbase grows more restless.

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