Late last month, Sporting News’ Sean Deveney reported that the Phoenix Suns are considered by league sources to be among the top candidates to acquire Jrue Holiday in the event the New Orleans Pelicans put him on the trading block. With the Suns having finished the 2018-19 season with a 19-63 record — worst in the Western Conference by several games — Bleacher Report recently suggested a trade that could bring Holiday to Phoenix and have him team up with the Suns’ young core of shooting guard Devin Booker and center Deandre Ayton.
In a report published Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley focused on “realistic” trade scenarios that could “rescue” the NBA’s young stars, including Booker and Ayton. The 28-year-old Holiday, who averaged 21.2 points, five rebounds, and 7.7 assists this season for a 33-49 Pelicans team, was mentioned as a potential “accelerator” for the Suns’ progress, with Buckley noting that his ability on both ends of the floor could help the team “skyrocket toward their towering ceiling.”
Suggesting a possible trade scenario that could bring Jrue Holiday to the Phoenix Suns, Buckley recommended that Phoenix could give up small forward T.J. Warren, wingman Josh Jackson, point guard Elie Okobo, and a 2020 first-round draft pick in order to acquire the Pelicans star. Buckley noted that Warren is currently established as a skilled scorer who could score close to 20 points per game, while Jackson, who has had an up-and-down career thus far as the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, could maximize his potential and athleticism if he gets a bigger role in New Orleans.
For new Pelicans VP David Griffin, the tough decision is Jrue Holiday, not Anthony Davis. Lotta teams would offer for Jrue (Suns, Magic among them) but the Pels could go for a quick rebuild (ie, keep Jrue) rather than a total overhaul.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) April 22, 2019
As for Okobo, who averaged 5.7 points and 2.4 assists in his rookie season in 2018-19, per Basketball-Reference, Bleacher Report’s Buckley described him as a “longer-term play” as a former second-round pick. He added that the Suns’ 2020 first-round pick, if it gets packaged along with Warren, Jackson, and Okobo, could pay off for the Pelicans as well due to the “stronger” rookie crop expected to be available in next year’s draft.
The above trade scenario, much like all the others that Buckley brought up in his article, is just hypothetical. But as the Bleacher Report contributor suggested, the Suns might not be the only team that could benefit if the New Orleans Pelicans start accepting offers for Jrue Holiday. The Orlando Magic were also suggested as a potential destination for Holiday, as the team is in need of additional “shot creation and tighter defense” at the point guard position, both of which Holiday could address. According to Buckley, the Magic could offer a package including former lottery draft picks Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba, veteran center Timofey Mozgov, and their 2019 first-round draft pick if they decide to acquire the Pelicans backcourt star.