O’Connor, who previously reported that Boston was interested in packaging its three first-round picks (Nos. 14, 26, and 30) in order to move up in the draft – perhaps to No. 6 – hears from multiple league sources that Boston’s intent would be to flip that newly-acquired mid-lottery pick to New Orleans in a deal for Holiday.
As O’Connor observes, the Celtics wouldn’t be able to take on Holiday’s contract ($26.2MM in 2020/21) without sending out significant salary of their own. Kemba Walker ($34.4MM) and Gordon Hayward ($34.2MM) are the only two players that would really make sense as outgoing pieces.
Presumably, of those two veterans, Boston would be more inclined to move Hayward, who would be on an expiring contract if he picks up his player option. Walker is under contract through 2023. It’s possible a deal between the C’s and Pelicans would also include other players and/or picks.
Holiday, 30, is coming off a 2019/20 season in which he averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG with a shooting line of .455/.353/.709 in 61 games (34.7 MPG) for the Pelicans. Although he didn’t earn a spot on one of this season’s All-Defensive teams, he has done so twice in the past and is widely considered one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. He holds a $27.1MM player option for 2021/22, giving him an opportunity to reach free agency next year.