NBA

The New Orleans Pelicans Are Trying to Get Rid of Their $131 Million Star

The New Orleans Pelicans gave Jrue Holiday a five-year contract worth $131 million three years ago, but they’re ready to move on from the former All-Star ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Holiday has been one of the most underrated point guards in the NBA and a driving veteran force in the Pelicans locker room. Despite his importance to the team, New Orleans is building toward the future more than it is competing for a title in 2021. Holiday could be on the move as soon as the new league year begins.

Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated stars in the NBA

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Jrue Holiday is rarely mentioned with the Russell Westbrook’s and the Chris Paul’s of the NBA world, but he’s been one of the most consistent point guards in the league for years.

Holiday has averaged more than 15 points and six assists per game in each of the last five seasons. He’s also swiped more than 1.5 steals per game in nine of his 11 seasons as a pro.

Holiday isn’t just an efficient scoring point guard. He’s also one of the best on-ball defenders on the perimeter in the NBA. At 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, Holiday is equipped to guard multiple positions on defense. He’s made two All-Defensive teams in his career, and he would probably have more if he was a bigger name.

The Pelicans are looking to shop Holiday

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In 2017, the Pelicans saw Holiday as the most important player on the entire roster, and they gave him a lucrative five-year contract worth $131.8 million. Holiday has been the highest-paid player on the team for three straight seasons, and that included Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

Now with young superstars Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball on the roster, the Pelicans have shifted their focus to building toward the future. A 30-year-old Holiday due $26.2 million this year doesn’t exactly fit that mold, so he might be on his way out of town soon.

On Wednesday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Pelicans are actively shopping Holiday in the trade market before the start of the season. Charania added that multiple contenders are interested in the veteran point guard, but it wouldn’t be cheap to get him.

Where could Holiday land?

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Holiday would be an extremely valuable addition to any NBA contender vying for a title in 2021. He’s a cool, calming presence in the huddle, a smart offensive player, and a ferocious defender. Who wouldn’t want that guy on their roster?

The Philadelphia 76ers would undoubtedly be interested in bringing Holiday back, but they don’t have many young pieces to offer the Pelicans in return. New Orleans probably wouldn’t be interested in Al Horford or Tobias Harris, but Daryl Morey could still work his magic to land Holiday.

The Brooklyn Nets could also use a veteran presence to offset the egos of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Irving and Durant have the talent to turn Brooklyn into a title contender, and a veteran decision-maker would take them over the top.

The Miami Heat, who already proved they have a championship roster, would benefit greatly from a competitive point guard like Holiday. He fits the culture in Miami well, but the Heat would most likely have to give up Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson in a trade package.

It will be interesting to see where Holiday ends up this season. It won’t be the most talked-about offseason deal, but whoever lands Holiday will see a huge boost to their championship hopes.

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference