The NBA rumor mill is heating up in a hurry ahead of the transaction season beginning next week and the Celtics are front and center within trade talks on Thursday. According to a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Celtics have shown interest in trading for Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, with the trade bait being a lottery pick the C’s would acquire for their three first-round picks.
We explored the possibility of dealing for Holiday earlier this month here and broke down his potential fit as well. In the wake of Boston’s reported interest, there are a lot of new angles to cover as it relates to Gordon Hayward's future, the NBA Draft and more. Here are five thoughts about the Celtics’ pursuit and whether a deal will come to be.
1. The Celtics would need to send out $20.9 million in the trade: The Pelicans' guard has two years left on this deal (the final year is a player option) with his salary next season at $26.1 million. In order to make the salary matching work, the Celtics would need to send out one of their core pieces as part of the deal. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren’t going anywhere so we will put them to the side. Kemba Walker has three years left on his deal and Danny Ainge spoke earlier this week about the team’s commitment to him over the long-term so I don’t think he would be on the table in trade talks for Holiday either. That would leave Marcus Smart and Hayward left to make the math work. Given the rumors swirling about Hayward’s long-term future in Boston, he would be an obvious fit as part of the deal, even if he isn’t headed to New Orleans. A three-team transaction could be worked out with a suitor looking to land Hayward and
2. Boston moving all three first-round picks would be too much for just Jrue Holiday by himself: The original report from the Ringer indicates that a mid-lottery pick would be the main piece the Pelicans would be looking for in a deal. The Celtics are exploring packaging up all three of their first-round picks (No. 14, 26, 30) to get to No. 7 and then using that pick to land Holiday. However, that type of deal would not be possible with a big matching salary (i.e. a player like Hayward). If the Celtics include Hayward in that type of transaction, that’s far too much to give up for a good but not great player in Holiday who makes big money and could opt out of his contract after next season. There would be a lot more moving parts needed in order to get the Celtics to pull the trigger on this potential deal and that involves more useful players going back to Boston from New Orleans or a third team.
3. The Celtics would likely need Hayward to serve as a cooperator in any Holiday deal, perhaps with his camp arranging a landing spot on a third team that’s willing to give up some kind of value for him: The Celtics have stayed quiet on the Hayward front amid a flurry of rumors about his future but their willingness to explore a deal like this for