Celtics' Jrue Holiday says signing long-term extension was what he envisioned after offseason trade

BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics always hoped to keep Jrue Holiday on their roster beyond this season. It didn’t take Holiday long this season to view Boston as a franchise he wanted to play for on a long-term basis.

A day after he agreed to a four-year, $135 million extension to remain with the Celtics, Holiday said Thursday that it was an early weight off his shoulders as he prepares for a playoff run that the former Milwaukee Bucks All-Star hopes will end with his second NBA championship ring.

“Once I knew I was getting traded here, this is a part of what I wanted or what I envisioned,” Holiday told reporters Thursday. “Being in a great organization. Being here for a lengthy amount of time and being able to play alongside people like (Jayson Tatum) and (Jaylen Brown), and really try to get more banners and get more rings.”

The new extension will include Holiday forgoing the $37.5 million player option he had for next season under his previous contract.

It works out to a slight pay cut for the 33-year-old, but will give the Celtics more flexibility to re-sign key members of their core. Tatum becomes eligible for a “supermax” extension this summer. Derrick White will also be entering the final year of his contract next season.

“Mutually we came to an agreement and felt like it was best for not only me but for the team,” Holiday said.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens immediately saw the impact Holiday could have in Boston shortly after he was dealt to Portland this past offseason as part of the deal that sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee.

Stevens swept in and gave up two key roster pieces in Malcolm Brogdon, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, and forward Robert Williams — along with two first-round draft picks, to trade for Holiday.

It was a hefty price, but it’s offered a great return on investment.

“In addition to being one of the more accomplished players in the league, Jrue is an elite teammate and competitor. He is simply a person who raises everyone’s level around him,” Stevens said in a statement. “He combines an unselfishness to do whatever is best for the team with an edge to take on any challenge at any time.”

A three-time NBA all-defensive first-team selection, Holiday has seen his scoring average drop to 12.5 points per game, his lowest output since his third season in the league in 2011-12. But he’s shooting a career-best 43.1% from 3-point range and averaging a career-best 5.4 rebounds. He’s also been durable, starting all 68 games he’s played in this season.

Holiday said part of what’s made his transition to Boston work is his willingness to serve a chameleon-type role on the floor.

“Really just being me. Being wherever the team fits or whatever the team needs,” he said. “There’s going to be days where I’m scoring a lot, but there’s going to be days where I have to defend and get steals — well, I guess that’s every day. But there might be days where I’m shooting corner 3s. I feel like whatever fit that I fit in that game or in that time or in that moment — I’m here for that.”