While powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets were busy upgrading their roster, the Denver Nuggets let the 2020 February NBA trade deadline pass without making any major moves. The Nuggets may currently own the third-best record in the Western Conference, but as of now, they aren’t considered favorites to reach the 2020 NBA Finals. However, recent reports revealed that the Nuggets tried to engage in a blockbuster deal that would have boosted their chances of fully dominating the Western Conference and contending for the championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nuggets inquired about the availability of Jrue Holiday in the trade market, but the New Orleans Pelicans told them that they had no interest in moving the veteran point guard before the trade deadline.
“Denver attempted to make a major trade just prior to the deadline, according to sources,” Charania wrote, as quoted by Bleacher Report. “Jrue Holiday had been a significant Nuggets target, but the New Orleans Pelicans never showed interest to move him, particularly after Holiday made his desire clear to remain with the franchise.”
When Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, the initial expectation was the Pelicans would be moving Holiday next and undergoing a full-scale rebuild. At the age of 29, Holiday is clearly an odd fit with the Pelicans’ young core, and in their blockbuster deal with the Lakers, New Orleans also acquired a young and promising point guard in Lonzo Ball. However, to everyone’s surprise, the Pelicans chose to keep Holiday and informed his suitors that they still considered him as part of the title-contending team that they are planning to build in the post-Davis era.
Though most people believe that he would be better off being traded to a legitimate title contender than wasting his prime years mentoring young players in New Orleans, Holiday didn’t show any indication that he wants out of the Pelicans. Meanwhile, it’s not surprising that the Nuggets still tried to pursue Holiday before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. The arrival of Holiday would have solidified the Nuggets’ backcourt and given them additional star power alongside the face of the franchise, Nikola Jokic.
The deal involving Holiday would not only have changed the fate of the Nuggets in the 2019-20 NBA season, but also the Pelicans’. Though they would still be left with competitive young players like Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Josh Hart, and Ball, the departure of Holiday would take the Pelicans out of the battle for the No. 8 seed in the deep Western Conference.