Pelicans Discussing Jrue Holiday In Trade Talks

The Pelicans are “openly discussing” Jrue Holiday in trade talks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that several contending teams are pursuing the veteran guard.

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.

Holiday’s contract with New Orleans will pay him $26.2MM in 2020/21 and includes a $27.1MM player option for ’21/22. That means he can reach free agency a year from now, putting some pressure on the Pelicans to decide soon whether he’s part of the team’s long-term plans or if it makes sense to see what they can get for him on the trade market rather than risk losing him for nothing in 2021.

If the Pelicans are serious about moving Holiday, he should immediately become one of the league’s most intriguing offseason targets for contending teams. A recent report indicated that about 10 teams had already inquired on the former All-Star, with the Nuggets expected to be among his most aggressive suitors. I’d expect the Nets, Mavericks, Heat, Timberwolves, and several others to have interest as well, though some of those clubs are better equipped than others to put together an appealing package.

Presumably, if the Pelicans look to deal, they’ll be seeking players whose developmental timelines match up with those of franchise cornerstones Brandon Ingram (23 years old) and Zion Williamson (20).

Technically, no trades can be completed yet, as the NBA’s transaction moratorium remains in place. But there’s nothing stopping teams from engaging in discussions now and even reaching tentative agreements on deals that could be finalized once that moratorium is lifted.

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