Although the Miami Heat are among the organizations most frequently linked to Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul, a new report suggests that the team may be better off targeting Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans for immediate help at the point guard position — assuming they’re willing to part ways with two promising rookie guards.
In a report published Wednesday, The Ringer’s D.J. Foster explained that trading for Holiday makes more sense than chasing after Paul for a number of reasons. These include the nine-time All-Star’s conventional style as a floor leader, which might not be the most ideal situation for the likes of center Bam Adebayo and forward Justise Winslow, who both serve as “nontraditional” playmakers. He added that the team has several players who are on lucrative, yet “expendable” contracts, including guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters, forward James Johnson, and centers Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard.
With those factors in mind, Foster recommended a trade that would send high-scoring first-year guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, as well as some “salary filler” to New Orleans, in exchange for Holiday. This deal, he noted, could also be expanded to include a swap of veteran guards, with J.J. Redick going to Miami and Goran Dragic heading to the Pelicans.
Although Holiday is arguably the Pelicans’ best veteran player at this point, Foster explained that the team’s No. 1 overall selection in this year’s draft, former Duke forward Zion Williamson, would be better off teaming up with young players whom he could grow with “for multiple years,” as opposed to tenured stars who could only aid his development for so long.
“It might be overly simplistic, but give the best slashing big-man prospect in college basketball history a young shooter that you already can’t leave [open] in Herro (39.2 percent from 3) and let the pecking order play out naturally,” he added.
First team All-Defense. Jrue Holiday pic.twitter.com/SNsCq5fNKj
— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) December 6, 2019
Regarding Holiday’s potential fit in Miami, Foster wrote that his “all-league-caliber” defense is better suited if he plays for a championship contender like the Heat, who are second in the Eastern Conference with an 18-6 record. He pointed out that despite the former All-Star’s contributions, the Pelicans have the fourth-worst defense in the entire NBA, leaving him “powerless” to help out in a meaningful way.
Furthermore, Foster posited that the move could also be a good idea in the long run for the Pelicans, who currently have a 6-18 record after losing nine straight games and are rebuilding behind youngsters like Williamson, who has yet to play this season due to injuries. He wrote that Holiday could potentially opt-out of the final year of his contract in the summer of 2021, a possibility that “becomes more real” as the losses keep piling up for New Orleans.