Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday Notes: Clippers, Sixers, Kings, Pacers, Knicks

After being sent to the Trail Blazers as part of the Damian Lillard blockbuster, Jrue Holiday is likely the next guard to be traded by a Portland team seeking draft capital and/or players who fit the club’s timeline. The Blazers are expected to be active in the next few days in attempting to find a landing spot for the two-time All-Star and there’s a “good chance” he’s on the move by Monday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The market for Holiday, a tenacious defender, is already robust. As we wrote on Thursday, the Clippers, Heat, Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, Pacers, and Sixers are among the teams that could explore acquiring him.

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic looks at several hypothetical landing spots for Holiday and considers what the trade package might look like in each scenario. In his view, the Clippers are the most viable destination for Holiday, with an easy-to-build package consisting of matching salaries, young players and draft picks. While the Clippers have been tied to Sixers guard James Harden for some time, Vecenie reasons that Holiday could be more appealing, since he’s extension-eligible while Harden is not, due to his two-year deal last offseason.

Of course, the rumors linking Harden and the Clippers make a three-team deal that sends Harden to L.A, Holiday to Philadelphia, and salaries, picks and other assets to Portland easy to imagine, Vecenie writes. However, Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports says that he’s hearing no real traction on any such move and that it will be difficult for Philadelphia to land Holiday.

The Heat, Knicks and Warriors are among other teams who can put together reasonable packages for Holiday, Vecenie writes, with Golden State providing his favorite potential landing spot for the guard.

We have more Jrue Holiday-related notes:

  • The Kings are one of the few teams who will not be in on the Holiday sweepstakes, tweets Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Amick, the Kings “looked at” the possibility, but will not pursue the guard. While Holiday makes sense for just about every team in the league, it stands to reason that the Kings, who seem to have a set backcourt rotation, wouldn’t want to shake things up this close to the season.
  • Indiana is a dark horse candidate to trade for Holiday. IndyStar’s Dustin Dopirak explores the subject, weighing the pros and cons of the Pacers acquiring Holiday. While adding the former All-Star would give Indiana a secondary ball-handler and shooting, along with high-level defense, it might not be the best idea for the team to sacrifice draft capital and/or young players at this stage of its timeline. With Holiday potentially becoming a free agent next offseason, it’s also possible he would be a rental and, if not, he would be costly at 33 years old, Dopirak writes. Ultimately, Dopirak believes the Pacers shouldn’t get desperate to acquire Holiday, even if he would boost their playoff odds this season.
  • As noted above, New York makes some level of sense as a suitor for Holiday’s services. Fred Katz and Mike Vorkunov write about the topic, arguing that while Holiday would help in a major way on the court, the cost to acquire him would be great. Ian Begley of SNY writes that if the Knicks did acquire Holiday, they’d do so with the idea of extending him.

Warriors Notes: Holiday, Roster, Jackson-Davis, Looney, More

There are logical reasons why the Warriors should pursue Jrue Holiday, who was traded to the Trail Blazers in the Damian Lillard blockbuster.

As Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, Holiday — a two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defense member — is one of the best two-way guards in the league. He’s also five years younger (33) than Chris Paul (38), who would almost certainly be included in a potential deal for salary-matching purposes.

However, according to Poole, the possibility of trading Paul so soon after acquiring him creates a dilemma for Golden State. The team has spent the past few months talking up how well the future Hall-of-Famer will fit in, and how he was the “missing piece.” Flipping him before he plays a game for the Warriors would likely have future free agents questioning the organization’s integrity, Poole writes.

Poole believes Holiday would improve the roster, and is “probably a more seamless fit into the team’s culture.” But trading Paul now would still carry a level of risk.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kendra Andrews of ESPN examines key storylines for the Warriors entering the 2023/24 season, including how the team will fill its final standard roster spots. After the chemistry issues of last season, Golden State is looking for a “glue guy” who will be a good locker-room presence, team sources tell Andrews.
  • Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis could be a seamless fit for Golden State’s system, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 6’9″ big man has plenty of experience, having played four highly productive college seasons at Indiana. Head coach Steve Kerr sounded impressed with the second round-pick on Monday, Johnson notes. “What I like about Trayce is he plays the way we like to play — good passer, dribble handoff guy at the top of the key, good screener, gives us a lob threat that we don’t otherwise have, which is a really nice addition,” Kerr said. “And I think he’s just the kind of guy who feels the game well. He’s got a good feel for passing, cutting movement. And a lot of the stuff that we already run he runs really well. So Trayce is a really intriguing prospect and will be fun to watch him play.”
  • In a lengthy interview with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, center Kevon Looney talked about his rebounding prowess, his desire to keep his consecutive games streak alive (he hasn’t missed a game the past two seasons), how long he hopes to play, adjusting to new teammates, and more.
  • The Warriors are close to hosting the 2025 All-Star game, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The news isn’t official yet, but it’s heading in that direction. As Charania notes, 2024 All-Star weekend will be held in Indianapolis.

Clippers Notes: Kawhi, PG13, Holiday, Harden, Preston

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have dealt with a litany of injuries since they joined L.A. in 2019, but they’re “fully healthy” and ready to go for training camp, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

The news was expected, as Frank was mostly just confirming what head coach Tyronn Lue said on a podcast a few weeks ago.

Frank also said the Clippers have talked to both players about possible contract extensions, according to Youngmisuk (Twitter link). Frank described it as a “process,” but the team hopes to continue to build around Leonard and George.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • At the same press conference, Frank said that while he likes the roster he’s assembled, the Clippers won’t hesitate to be aggressive in looking for upgrades if the opportunity arises, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register (subscriber link). “We like our team,” Frank said. “(But) you are always looking for ways to get better, both individually and as a team. Typically, if you follow the probability, the greatest way to get better is internal improvement. But from our standpoint, we’ll always be aggressive in trying to find ways to improve the team. I like our approach, but we’ll always look for ways to get better.”
  • The Clippers have been linked to All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, who is from the Los Angeles area. Law Murray of The Athletic makes the case that Holiday would be a better fit for the Clips than disgruntled star James Harden, noting that Holiday is a far superior defender. Holiday’s contract also aligns with Leonard’s and George’s, Murray adds, with all three players holding player options for 2024/25. Harden, meanwhile, is on an expiring deal and is not extension-eligible, but Holiday will be later this season.
  • Point guard Jason Preston‘s non-guaranteed salary becomes guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before this Sunday. Frank said the team is still weighing its options and the decision will likely come down to the wire, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

Details On Damian Lillard’s “Messy” Exit From Portland

Multiple reporters have cited sources who said the Trail Blazers hadn’t discussed a Damian Lillard trade with the Heat — Lillard’s preferred landing spot — since July.

According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the last dialogue the two sides had was a phone call at Summer League between Blazers GM Joe Cronin and Heat GM Andy Elisburg. Miami wanted to set up an in-person meeting in Las Vegas to have further discussions, but it never transpired, per Haynes.

How this summer played out behind the scenes definitely left a sour taste in my mouth,” Lillard told Haynes. “But it doesn’t change the amazing experiences I’ve had with the Trail Blazers and this city. I’ll always cherish this place. This is my home. I’ll always live here regardless.”

The situation became acrimonious almost immediately, as the Blazers felt Lillard’s trade request had put them at a negotiating disadvantage, while Miami believed Portland was acting out of emotion instead of understanding the league is a business, Haynes writes.

Following a lengthy period of inactivity, Aaron Goodwin, Lillard’s agent, suggested that Cronin meet with Lillard in the event that the longtime star returned to the team.

As Haynes details, at the meeting on September 5, Lillard expressed his disappointment with the situation and wondered why there hadn’t been any communication between Portland and Miami. He didn’t want to be traded anywhere else and noted that he’d been willing to sacrifice for the team.

Specifically, Haynes cites sources who say the Blazers asked Lillard to sit out the final 10 games of last season to boost Portland’s lottery odds. Lillard was told a top pick would improve the front office’s chances of trading it for a win-now veteran. Lillard reluctantly agreed, with the team citing a “calf injury.” Portland ultimately kept the pick and selected Scoot Henderson No. 3 overall.

According to Haynes, Cronin told Lillard at the September 5 meeting that he planned to extract every possible asset from the Heat if he had to deal with them. Realizing that was unrealistic, Lillard responded by saying if he couldn’t land in Miami, he’d prefer to rescind his trade request and return to Portland.

Cronin told Lillard he couldn’t come back, which “shocked” the 33-year-old, sources tell Haynes. Lillard was “discouraged” that he couldn’t return to the Blazers, but he also didn’t want to be somewhere he wasn’t wanted, so he ended the meeting.

Shortly thereafter, the Blazers — who were frustrated with their offers at that point — refused to communicate with Lillard and Goodwin for almost three weeks. Portland didn’t want Goodwin meddling in trade talks, which is how the team rationalized the decision, per Haynes.

With Cronin refusing to talk, Goodwin came up with a contingency plan, letting both Milwaukee and Brooklyn know Lillard would be interested in joining those two teams. Haynes is now the third to report that information regarding the Bucks and Nets.

The NBA actually got involved on September 23 because of the contentious communication breakdown, Haynes writes. Cronin agreed to have dialogue with Goodwin at that point, and a few days later Lillard was traded to the Bucks.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted he has mixed emotions about the trade, he told Haynes.

It’s a bittersweet day for the city of Milwaukee,” Antetkounmpo said. “You get Dame, who is a great player, but you lose a great guy. Jrue (Holiday) took us to the promised land. I’m 10 years in now. I know it’s a business. At the end of the day, Jrue will alway be be my brother for life. He’s one of the best human beings I’ve been around. But we’ve got to focus on the goal to win the championship. Dame wants this. He’s hungry to win, and he’s going to push us. I’m very happy to have him on our team.”

Haynes’ story for Bleacher Report has more details and quotes and is worth reading in full.

Here are some more notes related to the three-team blockbuster:

  • In a series of Twitter posts, Lillard sent a heartfelt thank you and goodbye to Blazers fans, teammates, coaches, employees, the media, and more. In conclusion, he wrote, “As this chapter of my life ends, I look back and realize how special it was. Even in this moment I feel sad that we never accomplished what I so badly wanted to. I don’t cry much, but I know my love for you is real because I am for sure dropping some tears right now. Rip City you know my heart and where I stand because I’ve stood there for over a decade so to have to move off my square hurts my heart. … I do believe a day will come where I put on a Blazers uniform on again, and hopefully by then I’ll be forgiven for breaking your hearts along with my own.”
  • Center Deandre Ayton, who was sent to Portland in the deal, also sent a thank you message to the Suns (via Twitter).
  • Only Lillard and Holiday will be required to report and pass physicals as part of the deal, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links), who adds that Holiday can’t be traded until both players pass their physicals. The Blazers owe the Bulls a top-14 protected first-rounder through 2028, and if it conveys that summer, Portland’s ’28 first-round pick swap with Milwaukee will be voided, Marks reports.
  • The Blazers generated an $8.8MM traded player exception in the deal, while the Suns got a $1.1MM TPE, per Marks.
  • In another tweet, Marks notes that Holiday can’t be aggregated with other salaries for two months, though he can be traded on his own (or with one or more players if his salary isn’t aggregated with theirs).
  • While multiple reports have now said Goodwin reached out to Brooklyn, NetsDaily.com hears the Nets were never interested and only discussed Lillard with Portland one time, in July. The Nets simply didn’t believe Lillard could turn them into a contender and were wary of his age and long-term contract, per NetsDaily.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explores what’s next following the deal, while Sam Vecenie of The Athletic evaluates the trade for the Bucks, Blazers and Suns.

Jrue Holiday Rumors: Heat, Pacers, Knicks, Celtics, More

The Lakers, Clippers, Heat, Celtics, Bulls and Sixers are among the teams Jrue Holiday would be interested in joining, a league source tells Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

That said, unless the Trail Blazers are willing to hold onto Holiday for at least a few months, you can scratch the Lakers from the list of possible suitors. They obviously aren’t trading LeBron James for Holiday, and the other players they could theoretically use to match salaries aren’t trade-eligible until December or January.

The Blazers are expected to prioritize young players and draft assets in exchange for Holiday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (YouTube link).

Holiday is expected to draw interest from a variety of teams, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link). The Heat could be among that group, but Portland “had no major interest in any individual Miami player or draft asset, and limited interest in whatever combination Miami might cobble” during negotiations for Damian Lillard, Lowe reports.

According to Chiang and Jackson, the Heat haven’t ruled out making an aggressive push for Holiday, but they didn’t do it immediately on Thursday. Miami isn’t expected to pursue James Harden, and has yet to express interest in Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who is reportedly on the trading block after failing to reach an extension, a source tells Chiang and Jackson. Free agent guard Goran Dragic is interested in returning to the Heat, but that interest doesn’t appear to be mutual, per The Herald’s duo.

Sources tell Lowe the Pacers and Knicks are expected to have a level of interest in Holiday, though it’s unclear how seriously they’ll pursue the defensive stalwart. While Lowe believes Holiday could be a good fit with both clubs, he wonders if Indiana will decide it’s too early to make a win-now move.

Boston was previously cited as a possible suitor, but multiple sources tell Brian Robb of MassLive that the Celtics will likely be outbid and aren’t expected to land Holiday. Still, the team has long been interested in the veteran guard — Boston tried to acquire Holiday a few years ago before he was traded to Milwaukee, a source tells Robb.

Here are a few more notes related to Holiday, who was sent to the Blazers from the Bucks as part of yesterday’s Lillard blockbuster:

  • Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t have a direct impact on the Lillard deal, Wojnarowski noted in the same segment. “Directly, (Antetokounmpo) literally played no role,” Wojnarowski said. “In fact, (GM) Jon Horst did not bring this trade idea or sign off on it to Giannis Antetokounmpo because Jrue Holiday was involved. And the relationship there and the reverence that this organization and these players have for Holiday. He did not want to put that to Giannis Antetokounmpo and have him have that on his conscience necessarily that he might sign off or not sign off on it.” However, as Wojnarowski observes, Antetokounmpo putting pressure on the organization by saying winning more championships was the most important thing in his career certainly played a significant indirect factor in Milwaukee trading for Lillard.
  • In addition to the previously mentioned teams that might pursue Holiday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Insider link) believes the Pelicans, Kings and Warriors would also benefit from the All-Star guard’s services. Over at The Athletic, John Hollinger lists the Heat, Clippers and Celtics as logical destinations for Holiday.
  • Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star considers the pros and cons of the Pacers pursuing Holiday. As Dopirak writes, head coach Rick Carlisle heaped praise on the five-time All-Defensive member during the 2022/23 season. “I’d like to somebody to name five other basketball players that are better than Jrue Holiday at the entire game,” Carlisle said. “Guy’s an amazing player, both sides of the ball. His scoring tonight was at another level obviously, but defensively, he can guard anybody. Just a nod of respect to him. He’s a guy that too often is overlooked as a truly, truly great player.” Still, Dopirak thinks it’s probably too early for Indiana to go after a 33-year-old veteran like Holiday, who can be a free agent in 2024 if he declines his player option.

Raptors Notes: Lillard, Siakam, Anunoby, Barnes, Holiday

The Raptors were willing to part with a slew of draft assets to acquire Damian Lillard, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca, but a Western Conference source tells him they were hoping to reach a deal with the Trail Blazers that didn’t include Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby or Scottie Barnes.

Grange hears that Toronto’s offer included up to three future first-round picks, two pick swaps and rookie forward Gradey Dick. Team officials believed they could become title contenders by adding Lillard to their existing talent, but not by having him replace one of their key components.

The fact that the Raptors were involved in discussions for Lillard shows that the front office isn’t content with the team in its current form, observes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Big decisions are coming up soon that will affect the organization’s future, and team officials will have to determine whether they’re planning to contend or rebuild.

Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. both have expiring contracts and are currently eligible for extensions. Another potential free agent next summer is Anunoby, who has a $19.9MM player option for 2024/25 that he’s expected to decline. Koreen notes that means the window is closing on a potential win-now move if the Raptors don’t do something by February’s trade deadline.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors aren’t likely to pursue Jrue Holiday, who is reportedly back on the market after being sent to Portland in the Lillard deal, Grange states in the same piece. Toronto wanted Lillard to provide more spacing for Barnes and Siakam, and Holiday isn’t on the same level as an outside shooter.
  • The Raptors haven’t held any extension talks with Siakam, Grange adds. Siakam will become eligible for a super-max deal if he remains in Toronto and makes an All-NBA team in 2024.
  • In a separate story, Koreen looks at questions for every player on the Raptors’ roster, including the need for a new lead guard after the loss of Fred VanVleet in free agency. He notes that Dennis Schröder normally excels at getting into the paint, but he may find that more difficult as Toronto doesn’t have enough outside shooting to provide driving lanes.
  • Toronto pulled off a G League trade this week, with the Raptors 905 acquiring the rights to Denzel Valentine from the Maine Celtics in exchange for Kylor Kelley, tweets Blake Murphy of SportsNet.

Bucks Acquire Damian Lillard In Three-Team Trade

9:37pm: The trade is now official, the Bucks announced in a press release.

Damian Lillard is an elite player in our league and someone we’ve long been fans of,” said general manager Jon Horst. “These opportunities are rare and hard to measure and execute. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity for our community and team, and beyond excited to welcome Damian and his family to the Milwaukee Bucks. His character, competitiveness, talent and experience complement our group and gives us the best chance to win at the very highest level as we create new memories together.”

These are the hardest, most human moments of this business. Jrue was unmatched in his commitment to the Bucks and the Greater Milwaukee community,” Horst said of Holiday. “He’s truly a champion on and off the court, and we are all thankful for what he and his family have given to our team and city. He and his wife Lauren were steadfast in their efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people. Their leadership and dedication to the community has left an indelible mark and inspired the Bucks organization for years to come.”

1:22pm: The Bucks have reached an agreement to trade for star Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard in a blockbuster three-team deal that also includes the Suns, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, Portland will acquire guard Jrue Holiday and an unprotected 2029 first-round pick from the Bucks, along with the right to swap first-round picks with Milwaukee in 2028 and 2030. The Blazers will also get center Deandre Ayton and rookie forward Toumani Camara from the Suns in the deal.

In exchange for Ayton and Camara, Phoenix will receive center Jusuf Nurkic, forward Nassir Little, and guard Keon Johnson from Portland, as well as wing Grayson Allen from Milwaukee, per Woj.

The massive deal is the culmination of a saga that lasted nearly three months after Lillard requested a trade out of Portland in early July. The seven-time All-Star had spent his entire 11-year NBA career with the Trail Blazers but felt that the team was no longer moving toward championship contention following consecutive lottery seasons and sought a change of scenery.

Miami was Lillard’s landing spot of choice, but reports throughout the process indicated that there was little communication between the Heat and Trail Blazers. In recent days, with the Blazers believed to be working to make a deal before the start of training camp, other Eastern Conference suitors like the Raptors and Bucks were increasingly connected to the 33-year-old.

Milwaukee ultimately emerged as the surprise winner of the Lillard sweepstakes, beating a handful of conference rivals to the punch and strengthening a core that also includes two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and standout starters Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, both of whom signed new free agent contracts with the club this offseason.

While there have been questions about whether Lillard would be happy to report to any team besides the Heat, both he and Antetokounmpo have expressed a desire to play with one another in the past, as Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com point out (all Twitter links). And the Bucks should put Lillard in a better position to win a championship than he ever had with the Blazers.

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo may not be any more inclined to sign a long-term extension with the Bucks following the acquisition of Lillard than he was earlier in the offseason, given that he would benefit financially from waiting another year. However, in dealing for another star like Lillard, the Bucks’ front office proved it heard Giannis’ call for the organization to be as committed to contending for titles as he is.

The Blazers, who patiently scoured the market for most of the offseason in the wake of Lillard’s trade request, will come away from the deal with a pair of intriguing new players in Ayton and Holiday, though the big man is more likely to remain in Portland than the veteran guard.

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the Blazers – who are focused on developing a young backcourt that features Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons, and this year’s No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson – remain engaged in trade talks involving Holiday and could flip him to a contender for additional assets.

Holiday, who can become a free agent next summer if he turns down his 2024/25 player option, recently spoke about his desire to sign a contract extension with the Bucks, but now appears destined for a new long-term NBA home. Holiday will become extension-eligible in February, though as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), he won’t be able to sign a contract that exceeds the extend-and-trade limits (two new years, 5% raises) until six months after being dealt.

On the other hand, it sounds like Ayton will be a keeper for the Blazers, who have had interest in the former No. 1 overall pick in the past and were linked to him again within the last week. The 25-year-old had an up-and-down five-year stint in Phoenix that included some tension with former Suns coach Monty Williams, but he has averaged a double-double for five straight seasons, including 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game across 67 contests last season.

As for the Suns, they recognized that a player such as Ayton, who liked to have the ball in his hands, might not be an ideal fit alongside their new big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, and turned the young center and his $32.5MM cap hit into a series of role players on smaller contracts, including another big man in Nurkic.

Acquiring Nurkic, Little, Allen, and Johnson will make the Suns deeper and will give them more flexibility in future trades, given that their nearly all of their non-stars had been on minimum-salary contracts. However, the move creates a bit of a roster crunch in Phoenix. The club will now have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Jordan Goodwin and Ish Wainright on partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed deals. At least two of those 17 players will have to be traded or cut before the regular season tips off.

While the Suns will increase their roster count as a result of this trade, the Bucks and Trail Blazers are both sending out more players than they’re taking back. That’s especially notable for Milwaukee, which had been carrying 15 players on guaranteed salaries prior to agreeing to acquire Lillard. The Bucks now project to have an open spot on their 15-man regular season roster, which could be used to add a backup point guard.

From a cap perspective, the Bucks will take on the biggest long-term deal in the three-team trade — Lillard is under contract for four more seasons and will earn a projected $216MM during that time, while Holiday ($36.86MM) and Allen ($8.93MM) could both reach free agency next summer.

The Blazers will owe Ayton approximately $102MM over the next three years before he becomes eligible for free agency. Camara is under contract for four years, but it’s a minimum-salary deal and only the first season is guaranteed.

The Suns will take on Nurkic’s three-year contract worth $54.38MM and Little’s four-year contract worth $28MM in addition to Allen’s expiring deal. Johnson is owed a guaranteed $2.81MM salary in 2023/24 and has a $4.47MM team option that the Suns must pick up or decline by October 31, if he’s still on the roster at that point.

Jrue Holiday Rumors: Sixers, Harden, Clippers, Heat, Celtics

As first reported by Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports, the Sixers have interest in trading for veteran guard Jrue Holiday, who is being sent to Portland as part of the Damian Lillard blockbuster. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms Neubeck’s report, and says James Harden — who hopes to land with the Clippers — would be involved in a possible deal.

Holiday spent his first four NBA seasons with the Sixers, who selected him 17th overall back in 2009. According to Pompey’s sources, Philadelphia tried to trade for Holiday multiple times during his seven-year stint with New Orleans from 2013-20.

Moving Harden before Monday’s Media Day and next week’s training camp would avoid a messy situation, and the team has said it wants an All-Star caliber player or draft assets in return for the former MVP. As a five-time All-Defensive member and a two-time All-Star, Holiday fits that bill, Pompey notes.

A three-team deal that sends Harden to the Clippers, Holiday to the Sixers, and a first-round pick from each club to the Trail Blazers seems like it could be a good move for all parties, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who reports that L.A. has thus far only been willing to give up one first-rounder for Harden. Still, as Fischer observes, maybe the Clippers will just end up going after Holiday instead.

The Heat are another Eastern Conference contender who have long valued Holiday, sources tell Fischer. League executives were speculating about Holiday being sent to Miami in the aftermath of the deal, Fischer adds, though it’s worth pointing out that Portland and Miami haven’t had much dialogue this offseason, despite Lillard hoping to land with the Heat.

The Celtics are expected to consider a pursuit of Holiday as well, reports Adam Himmselsbach of The Boston Globe (via Twitter). That’s an interesting, though not surprising rumor — the team has been trying to mend fences with Malcolm Brogdon, who was nearly sent to the Clippers this offseason. Brogdon ($22.5MM) would basically have to be involved in any package for Holiday ($36.86MM) for salary-matching purposes.

If the prolonged Lillard saga is any indication, Portland’s front office could be patient in looking for the best possible return for Holiday, Fischer notes.

More Lillard Trade Notes: Nets, Raptors, Grades, Holiday

Ten days ago, Aaron GoodwinDamian Lillard‘s agent — privately informed the Bucks and Nets that his client would be interested in joining Milwaukee or Brooklyn, sources tell Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link). Spears also writes that the Raptors were a “real contender” for Lillard, who will reportedly land with the Bucks.

Appearing on 590 The FAN, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca described the Raptors’ pursuit of Lillard as being less than full throttle.

There was always interest, determination to try to get a deal but they wanted to see if they could, knowing them, without having to give up everything,” Grange said (Twitter link).

As for the Bucks, they discretely began inquiring about Lillard a couple weeks ago, league sources tell Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Goodwill writes that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lillard will be under a lot of pressure to bring another title to Milwaukee after going all-in, and losing Jrue Holiday‘s defense shouldn’t be ignored.

Why would Milwaukee appeal to Lillard? In addition to being on a title contender and playing with two-time MVP and 2021 Finals MVP Antetokounmpo, Lillard will also participate in more nationally televised games (19) than any other season in his career, notes Nate Jones (via Twitter), another of Lillard’s agents.

Here’s more on the three-team blockbuster between the Bucks, Trail Blazers and Suns:

  • In grading the deal, Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) gives both Milwaukee and Portland a B-plus, while Phoenix receives a B-minus. Pelton likes the addition of Nassir Little more for the Suns than Jusuf Nurkic, noting Nurkic’s injury history, inefficiency inside the arc and lack of mobility. Zach Harper of The Athletic has identical grades for the Suns and Blazers, but is more bullish on the Bucks’ side of the deal, giving Milwaukee an A.
  • Both Bill Oram of The Oregonian (subscriber link) and Mark Medina of Sportsnaut argue that the deal is a win-win for Portland and Lillard.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides his breakdown of the deal (YouTube link). As Marks notes, Lillard’s long-term deal is actually an insurance policy of sorts for the Bucks, since Holiday can become a free agent next summer if he turns down his player option.
  • Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report (Twitter link) thinks it’s inevitable that Holiday — who is heading to Portland from Milwaukee as part of the deal — will eventually be traded. However, keeping him until the trade deadline isn’t a bad option, according to Highkin, as more teams might pursue the veteran guard during the season once more players become trade-eligible.
  • Don’t expect the Raptors to pursue Holiday, tweets Grange. Toronto was interested in Lillard’s elite half-court offense, while Holiday isn’t on the same level at that end of the court.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (Twitter link) argues the Magic should pursue Holiday, while Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post believes the Knicks should trade for the All-Defensive guard, writing that head coach Tom Thibodeau would love to have him. “Thibs and Jrue,” a longtime NBA executive texted Vaccaro, “is a marriage made in basketball heaven.”
  • ESPN’s panel of insiders answer big questions after the massive trade, while Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports provides three takeaways from the Suns’ perspective.

More Notes On Bucks’ Trade For Damian Lillard

The Damian Lillard news that we’ve been waiting for all offseason finally broke on Wednesday afternoon, as the Bucks reached an agreement to acquire the star guard from Portland in a three-team deal that will send former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton to the Trail Blazers.

Lillard and agent Aaron Goodwin made it clear shortly after Dame asked to be traded that the 33-year-old only wanted to be dealt to Miami. Instead, he’ll end up in Milwaukee, joining one of the Heat’s biggest Eastern Conference rivals. In his first public statement since news of the deal broke, Lillard said goodbye to Portland and seemingly put to rest any speculation that he would decline to report to his new team.

“The casuals won’t be addressed but the Trail Blazers fans and city of Portland that I love truly will be … and they will be addressed truthfully. Stay tuned,” Lillard wrote on Twitter. “Excited for my next chapter! @Bucks.”

Here’s more on the Lillard trade:

  • The Trail Blazers didn’t re-engage with the Heat prior to accepting the Bucks’ offer on Wednesday, a league source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). According to Chiang, the communication between Miami and Portland this offseason was pretty limited, and the Heat only learned about the trade when Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news.
  • According to Chiang (Twitter link), Goodwin put out a statement today on the Heat‘s pursuit of his client: They did everything they could to acquire Dame. It takes two to get a deal done. I appreciate all that Pat (Riley), Andy (Elisburg) and Micky (Arison) did to try and make this happen.”
  • With Jrue Holiday expected to remain very available for trade after being sent to Portland, the Sixers will be among the teams with interest in acquiring him, reports Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). If the 76ers were to land Holiday, I imagine it would be in a multi-team deal involving James Harden, though that’s just my speculation.
  • Holiday also seems to fit the mold of the type of player the Heat would covet, Chiang notes (via Twitter), though he acknowledges that the veteran guard’s market could be “robust.”
  • No longer having Deandre Ayton‘s long-term, maximum-salary contract on their books is considered a positive for the Suns, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Rankin adds that new Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic is viewed as a good team player who buys into his role, is loved by teammates, and can help the Suns with his passing.
  • Shortly after the news of Lillard’s trade to Milwaukee broke, Heat star Jimmy Butler took to Instagram to send a message to the league, as ClutchPoints relays (Twitter video link). “Yo NBA, man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Butler said. “Y’all do. I’m just going to put that out there. Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it through somebody, y’all look at them for tampering.”
  • The Bucks‘ and Suns‘ championship betting odds both increased as a result of today’s trade news, per Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com (Twitter link). Kennedy says that one sportsbook has moved Milwaukee from +700 to +370 and Phoenix from +800 to +600.
  • As Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report observes (via Twitter), Lillard’s move to Milwaukee will reunite him with his former coach. The Bucks hired Terry Stotts this offseason as Adrian Griffin‘s lead assistant. Stotts was Portland’s head coach from 2012-21.