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Jrue Holiday Trade Rumors: Several Contending Teams Pursuing Pelicans Star

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans' Jrue Holiday in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Pelicans won 120-107. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday is reportedly on the trade radar of multiple NBA teams leading up to the draft and free agency.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, "several contending teams" are in pursuit of Holiday, who the Pelicans are "openly discussing" as a trade chip.

The 30-year-old Holiday has spent the past seven seasons with the Pels after playing for the Philadelphia 76ers for four seasons to open his career.

Holiday was named an All-Star in 2012-13 while he was a member of the Sixers, and he has developed into one of the NBA's premier defensive guards during his time in New Orleans with an NBA All-Defensive First Team nod in 2017-18 and a second-team selection in 2018-19.

Although it wasn't enough to get him into the All-Star Game, Holiday enjoyed a career year in 2018-19, averaging 21.2 points, 7.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from deep.

Holiday wasn't quite as good last season, but he wasn't far off either. In 61 appearances during the COVID-19-shortened campaign, he averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals, and he shot 45.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.

There were high hopes for the Pelicans last season given the selection of Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the acquisition of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade and the fact that Holiday was coming off a career year.

While the Pels showed flashes, they weren't the sleeper team many pundits expected them to be. Williamson missed significant time because of injury, while Ball and Hart performed unevenly, resulting in a 30-42 record and no playoff berth.

Ingram developed into an All-Star and Holiday played well, but Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin is still trying to find the right mix.

Per Spotrac, Holiday is signed through next season at a salary of $26.2 million. He also has a player option for $27.1 million in 2020-21, meaning he could leave as a free agent following the 2020-21 season if the Pelicans don't trade him.

There could be value in seeing what Holiday, Ingram and Williamson can do as a trio when they are healthy. However, if the Pelicans have any hope that Ball can reach the potential he displayed prior to being selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA draft, they may need to move Holiday.

Holiday played a lot of shooting guard last season as Ball ran the point, but he was also a second point guard in many ways, which meant Ball wasn't in complete control of the offense.

Keeping one of Holiday or Ball and then adding a shooting guard who excels at scoring the basketball would likely make New Orleans a more complete team. As of now, there is no question Holiday would net greater value in a trade than Ball.

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