In an effort to springboard themselves to the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics may look to use their abundance of draft picks to acquire another difference-maker. According to The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor, league sources have indicated that Boston is attempting to package multiple picks in exchange for a high lottery selection, which the team could then swing to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a deal to land former All-Star Jrue Holiday.
“The Celtics have offered up their three first-round picks (nos. 14, 26, and 30) in trades to try and move into the lottery, but multiple league sources say they intend to reroute that pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday,” he wrote in a recent mock draft.
As it stands, the Celtics will be operating over the salary cap for the 2020-21 campaign, so they would have to send out a big-money contract in a potential trade in order to take on Holiday’s massive deal. Per O’Connor, Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker both make sense as pieces that would allow a deal to work under the collective bargaining agreement.
Of the two, Hayward may be the most likely to be moved. The 30-year-old was fresh off of a career year with the Utah Jazz when he signed with Boston during the summer of 2017. However, he suffered major injuries in his first game with the club the following season. As a result, Hayward has been earning big money despite playing a secondary role on the court behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Walker.
Additionally, Hayward will only have one year left on his contract in the likely event that he exercises his player option. So his contract wouldn’t be prohibitive for the Pelicans in the long-term.
Holiday, meanwhile, continues to produce at an elite level despite the fact that he’s approaching the back end of his career. Last season, the 11-year veteran averaged 19.1 points, nearly seven assists, five rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest for New Orleans, per the official NBA website. He also posted an effective field goal percentage of 51.6. The 6-foot-3-inch combo guard has also established a strong reputation as a defensive stopper on the perimeter, earning All-Defensive Team honors in both 2018 and 2019.
His all-around skill set, veteran presence and ability to play both backcourt positions could make him a valuable addition for a Boston squad looking to overtake teams like the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks in the East and contend for a title.
Holiday’s name comes up frequently in media trade musings. As shared recently by The Inquisitr, Bleacher Report‘s Sean Highkin suggested that he could be swapped for Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum.