With center Nikola Jokic and combo guard Jamal Murray leading the way, the Denver Nuggets have become a force in the Western Conference, posting a 43-22 record as of last month’s indefinite season suspension. However, a new report suggests that the Nuggets could theoretically bring in a third top-tier player — New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday — to form a “Big Three” alongside the two young stars and improve their chances of contending for an NBA championship.
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report published a list of recommended trades that could help certain teams form their own “Big Three” combination, noting in its entry for the Nuggets that Holiday’s playmaking ability could free Jokic of some of his duties as the team’s best passer. It was also pointed out that Denver needs a “dynamic” scorer like Holiday, who is averaging 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.9 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range, per Basketball-Reference.
As suggested by the publication, Denver could possibly acquire Holiday from the Pelicans by offering a trade package that includes guards Gary Harris and Monte Morris, backup forward Keita Bates-Diop, and a future protected first-round draft pick. Explaining the rationale behind this hypothetical deal, Bleacher Report wrote that Harris is still fairly young at 25 years old, which makes him a better fit on a youthful Pelicans team. The outlet added that Morris and Bates-Diop have both shown lots of promise despite their bench roles, noting that the future first-rounder could also come in handy for future transactions involving the Pelicans.
“The Nuggets are in win-now mode, and this is a win-now trade that would elevate them to a new level. The Pelicans would add another young guard, two contributors who can be developed into solid role players and a draft asset for their trade cupboard.”
Per Basketball-Reference‘s Nuggets page, Harris has mostly played a supporting role to Jokic and Murray, averaging 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as the team’s starting shooting guard. Backup point guard Morris has produced 8.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists so far, while Bates-Diop has seen action in only two games for Denver after coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves via a midseason trade.
Bleacher Report‘s trade suggestion for Holiday isn’t too surprising, considering the rumors that claimed the Nuggets tried to trade for him prior to the February 6 deadline. No specific trade packages were mentioned, though as The Athletic‘s Shams Charania noted last month, the Pelicans “never showed interest” in moving the veteran, who also expressed a desire to remain in New Orleans.