NBA trade rumors: Latest buzz on James Harden, Jrue Holiday as draft nears

Nick Goss
·4 min read

NBA trade rumors: Latest buzz on Harden, Holiday as draft nears originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2020 NBA Draft is just two weeks away, and trade rumors have begun to swirl as the league inches closer to one of its marquee offseason events.

Here's a roundup of recent trade rumors.

76ers and James Harden?

The Philadelphia 76ers hired former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to be their new president of basketball operations earlier this week. It was a great hire by the 76ers because Morey is one of the smartest front office executives in the league and built some very good teams in Houston.

2020 NBA Draft odds: Who will C's take with their top pick?

Given Morey's history of pursuing blockbuster trades, could he look to one of his former superstar players on the Rockets in an effort to improve Philly's roster?

"I'm told Philadelphia is expected to be interested in and pursue James Harden," Stadium's Shams Charania reported Tuesday. "Other teams also (will) express interest. As of right now, it's an emphatic 'no' from the Rockets side. It's really a non-starter for that organization.

"Daryl Morey, though, has a history of being active on the trade market, pursuing the different opportunities that may exist out there, and I wouldn't expect it to be any different now that he's in Philadelphia."

Harden led the league with 34.3 points scored per game last season. He has scored 30-plus points per game in three consecutive seasons. The All-NBA guard is one of the best offensive players of his era, but he has repeatedly come up short of playing at an elite level in the playoffs. For that reason, and several others, trading for the 31-year-old guard would be a risk.

Jrue Holiday on the move?

Jrue Holiday has spent seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, but will the veteran point guard be playing for a different team when the 2020-21 campaign begins?

Charania reported Wednesday that the Pelicans are "openly discussing" trading him.

Holiday is an All-Star caliber point guard who's averaged 19.8 points and 6.8 assists per game over the last three seasons.

There are a few things that teams interested in acquiring Holiday should consider before making a move. One is his injury history. He's played more than 67 games in just one of his seven seasons with New Orleans. Holiday also has a salary cap hit of around $26.2 million next season, per Spotrac, plus a 2021-22 player option worth more than $27 million. That's a lot of money for a 30-year-old point guard who's missed 15 or more games in six different seasons.

If healthy, Holiday would be a solid upgrade for any contending team in need of a scoring point guard.

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Celtics looking to move up?

The Boston Celtics are the lone team with three first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. The best pick is at No. 14 in the lottery, while the other two are toward the end of the first round at No. 26 and No. 30.

In his latest mock draft, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Celtics have tried to use these first-round selections to improve their draft position.

"The Celtics have offered their three first-round picks (nos. 14, 26, and 30) in trades to try and move up, according to multiple league sources," O'Connor wrote. "So far, no one is biting."

The C's absolutely should try to trade up. The history of getting impact players near the end of the first round is not very good, so if Boston can move up even a few spots in the lottery, it probably would be worth it.