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Report: New Orleans ‘openly discussing’ Jrue Holiday trade

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Orleans Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives with the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at the Smoothie King Center on February 28, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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When the New Orleans Pelicans hired Stan Van Gundy as coach, it implied the franchise was thinking more short term, win now and make the playoffs. That was counter to a “get elite players on the Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram timeline and build a good young core that might contend for a title in a few years” plan. Now comes a report suggesting the Pelicans are thinking on that longer timeline.

New Orleans is open to a trade of veteran point guard Jrue Holiday and is talking to teams, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Jrue Holiday would help any contending team, which is why they will call about a trade. He can play either guard spot, is a quality on-ball defender, and averaged 19.1 points and 6.7 assists a game while shooting 35.3% from three last season. He is owed $26.2 million this season with a player option for $27 million next season, something he may opt-out of seeking a longer contract with more security (although likely for slightly less money that first year).

Denver made a run at Holiday last trade deadline and has been rumored around the league as a team that would aggressively pursue Holiday. He would fit well as Brooklyn’s third star, he would help Milwaukee’s playmaking issues in the postseason, would give the Clippers the playmaking guard they are seeking, plus a case could be made for his fit with the Lakers, Mavericks, and Timberwolves. The Miami Heat also made a run at Holiday last deadline and may do so again, but they likely have to trade Tyler Herro to get it done. There are other teams interested as well. For whatever team does trade for Holiday could mean losing 2021 cap space to keep him, but it may well be worth it. The Pelicans will exact a high price but will want players on the Zion/Ingram timeline.

Holiday has been loyal to the Pelicans, and them to him as he went through a challenging birth of his child with his wife Lauren Holiday (the former USA Women’s National Team soccer player who is an Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup champion). It’s a professional relationship that is sad to see end, but it may be best for both sides. Holiday could compete for a title now, and the Pelicans could set themselves up for the future.