How Jrue Holiday being on the trade market could impact the Trail Blazers originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
The NBA hot stove is starting to heat up.
With the NBA Draft just two weeks away and free agency in the days following, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the New Orleans Pelicans are shopping star guard Jrue Holiday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 4, 2020
Should Holiday be traded, it could have a dramatic impact on the league. Holiday's skill set makes him highly coveted, and he could be the missing piece for any number of teams with championship aspirations.
No matter where the All-Star does go, there will be an impact felt in Rip City.
Here are a few scenarios, good and bad, and how they could change the Blazers outlook on the 2020-2021 season:
1) GOOD: Holiday gets traded to the East and takes the Pelicans out of the picture.
Should the Pelicans ship Holiday, the best-case scenario for the Blazers (unless they trade him to Portland, but we'll get to that later) would be to trade him to a team in the Eastern Conference.
The Pelicans were in the thick of the playoff race until they had a disappointing showing in the bubble. Still, NOLA has a nice young core with players like Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Zion Williamson, and will do everything in their power to retain restricted free agent Brandon Ingram.
The Pelicans could trade him to a contender out East, grab a nice haul in the process, and not have him added to a team in an already stacked Western Conference.
Teams like Miami, Philadelphia, and Boston could all be in play.
Holiday could make any of those teams a favorite to appear in the NBA Finals, but at least the Blazers wouldn't have to worry about them taking a playoff spot out West.
2) BAD: Holiday goes to a contender in the West
Of course, the Eastern Conference is just half the picture. There are plenty of teams in the Western Conference that could view Holiday as the missing piece.
A team like the Los Angeles Clippers, who underwhelmed in the playoffs, could show interest. What about Denver, Dallas, or Oklahoma City?
Even the Houston Rockets, who might already be willing to pull the plug on the Russell Westbrook - James Harden duo, could try to get a package together.
And you can't even count out the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, who have a lot of roster questions ahead of next season.
The point is, every team that made the playoffs in the Western Conference could easily find a use for Holiday and his defensive prowess.
If any of team lands Holiday, they will likely be favored to be a top team in the conference, only making the road tougher for Portland.
3) BAD: The Warriors swoop in and become a title favorite.
We forgive you if you forgot about the Warriors. They had one of the worst records in the league last season, but it was all due to injuries.
Klay Thompson missed the entire season, Steph Curry played just five games, and Draymond Green was limited to 43. Now fully healthy, the team is ready to make noise again and they don't need Holiday to do it.
The absolute worst-case scenario for not just the Blazers, but the league, would be for the Warriors to make a call and end up landing Holiday.
The Warriors have the parts. They can offer Andrew Wiggins to match finances, and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which may appeal to a young team with a new coach in Stan Van Gundy.
The deal would really make sense for both teams. Wiggins would pair well with Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Zion Williamson. We can't forget about restricted free agent Brandon Ingram, either. Pair that core with the No. 2 pick and the Pelicans are right back in the thick of the playoff hunt next season. They could trade a star without missing a beat.
As for the Warriors, they would go from worst in the league right back to title favorite. They could run a lineup of Curry - Holiday - Thompson - Green, and anyone they want to play at the five. Not to mention the bench would be made of players that were starters in 2019-2020.
Eric Paschall, who finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting would be your key bench rotation player. Not Bad. Not bad at all.
This scenario is not only scary, it's more likely than people think.
The No. 2 pick could pay off huge for the Warriors, and it might not be via the Draft.
4) GOOD: Holiday lands in Rip City
This is the best-case scenario for the Blazers for various reasons, the most obvious being it wouldn't make another team in the Western Conference stronger.
A trade here could be worth it just to keep him away from Golden State, for example. But, that's not why trades are made and Holiday won't come cheap. The trade has to make sense for the Blazers.
So, would Holiday make sense? That's a loaded question. Simply? Yes.
Holiday is an elite defender. Many players in the league say he is the best on-ball defender. In fact, over the summer Damian Lillard said he was the best.
As for the Blazers, Holiday would instantly improve the team defense, and he is no slouch on offense, either.
Pair his great defense with his 19.1pts, 4.8rbs, and 6.7asts per game and you have a game-changer for Portland.
The only question is what it would take to get him?
Holiday is set to make $26.1M next season and has a player option for next season.
Financially, a player like CJ McCollum balances the books for that type of trade. McCollum will make $29.3M next season and hasn't even started making the money from his five-year, $157M contract extension. That begins after the 2020-21 season. CJ McCollum averaged 22.2pts, 4.2rbs and 4.4asts last season for Portland, for stat comparison-sake.
The Trail Blazers could attempt to package up multiple players, but would force New Orleans to make additional trades and potentially take on older players, which doesn't seem as appealing.
So, if the first scenario is the only one, you would lose an elite scorer but would gain an elite defender. Is breaking up the backcourt worth it? There are arguments to be made all around and all of which are incredibly complex.
Regardless, all eyes are on New Orleans. Where Holiday ends up, if he is moved at all, could have a huge impact on the 2020-2021 NBA season and beyond.