Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Jrue Holiday is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was reportedly almost a member of another Eastern Conference title contender.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (h/t RealGM), the Boston Celtics offered Gordon Hayward and their three first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Holiday. That may have driven the price up for the Bucks.
“All day yesterday, the chatter around the league was that the Celtics were offering Gordon Hayward and their three first-round picks for Jrue Holiday. That was the chatter all day yesterday until the Bucks made the deal. It’s not like the Bucks weren’t moving against anybody. They weren’t bidding against themselves. They had Atlanta, too, who also wanted Jrue Holiday. There was a bit of a bidding war.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Bucks agreed to send Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three future first-round picks and two pick swaps to New Orleans for the veteran guard.
That wasn’t all the Bucks did, as Wojnarowski reported they’re also shipping Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson to the Sacramento Kings in a sign-and-trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin James.
A lineup of Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez cements Milwaukee’s place on the short list of title contenders. It may also help convince Antetokounmpo to sign a supermax extension and remain with the only NBA team he has ever played for instead of hitting free agency following the 2020-21 campaign.
As for Boston, Holiday would have been an ideal playmaker alongside Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
He averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in 2019-20, and he can shoot from the outside when defenders collapse on others, attack the basket off the bounce, facilitate as a playmaker and defend the opponent’s best perimeter player.
Including Hayward in the deal would have been notable since he has a $34.2 million player option for 2020-21.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported Boston is working with Hayward to extend the deadline for deciding on that option until Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.