NBA Rumors: Celtics GM Danny Ainge ‘Dangled’ Kemba Walker To Cavaliers & Bulls For Picks To Land Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on January 26, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Veteran point guard Jrue Holiday recently found a new home when the New Orleans Pelicans agreed to send him to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and three first-round picks. Before the deal between the Pelicans and the Bucks became official, several teams that were in dire need of a backcourt boost and additional star power had expressed strong interest in getting Holiday’s service. Among the teams that tried to acquire Holiday this offseason was the Boston Celtics.

In a recent article, Zach Harper of The Athletic made some interesting revelations regarding the Celtics’ rumored pursuit of Holiday. Harper revealed that Celtics president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ainge offered Kemba Walker to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls for their first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Had they succeeded to convince the Cavaliers or the Bulls to take Walker for their lottery selection, Ainge would have used it as a trade chip to acquire Holiday from the Pelicans.

“League sources said Danny Ainge was trying to move Kemba Walker for a top 10 pick prior to the deadline,” Harper wrote, as quoted by NBA Analysis Network. “He dangled Kemba in front of Chicago and Cleveland, but neither team bit on the offer. The goal was to get the fourth or fifth pick to then flip it to New Orleans for Holiday.”

It’s arguably hard to blame the Celtics for trying to use Walker to land Holiday. Walker may have played well in his first regular season in Boston, but he failed to make an impact in the postseason — where games matter the most. Replacing him with Holiday as their starting point guard could have made a lot of sense for the Celtics, especially if they want to have a better chance of winning the NBA championship in 2020-21.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at Staples Center on February 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California
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Holiday wouldn’t just have given the Celtics a very reliable scoring option, playmaker and floor-spacer. He is also recognized as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Last season, the 30-year-old floor general averaged 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from the beyond the arc, per ESPN. Also, with his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, he could have been an ideal fit alongside ball-dominant stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

This wasn’t the first time that Walker was involved in trade rumors this fall. According to The Inquisitr, the Celtics also tried flipping Walker for assets that they could use to acquire James Harden from the Houston Rockets.