The Milwaukee Bucks opened what promises to be a wild NBA offseason late last night. The team, which is desperate to do whatever it needs to in order to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to re-sign a new long term deal, acquired star guard Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. It sounds like it wasn’t the only big offer New Orleans had on the table for him, with a Boston Celtics trade offer featuring Gordon Hayward and a slew of NBA Draft picks surfacing today.
The 30-year old Jrue Holiday has long been one of the NBA’s unheralded stars. He’s a solid, steady offensive presence, and a dynamite perimeter defender. He’ll definitely help the Bucks, joining an all-world talent in Giannis and a talented wing in Khris Middleton.
Still, the amount that the team gave up to get him is jarring. Milwaukee sends point guards Eric Bledsoe and Georgia Hill to New Orleans, along with first round picks in 2020, 2025, and 2027. The first comes via the Indiana Pacers, while the other two are unprotected picks. The team also included pick swap options in 2024 and 2026, which could become significant if the Bucks bottom out around that time and are near the top of the NBA Draft.
It is a deal that some have compared to what the Pelicans got for Anthony Davis from the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis is obviously the better player, but the Pelicans had less leverage in that deal, as AD made his wishes well known. Meanwhile, Milwaukee can argue that if it keeps Giannis on the Bucks, it was more than worth it. They may be right in that regard. Complicating matters for the Bucks as well, is that the Boston Celtics were reportedly also prepared to send a huge package to the Pels for him.
The Boston Celtics reportedly offered Gordon Hayward, and their three 1st-Round Draft picks in this years NBA Draft for Jrue Holiday, via @KevinOConnorNBA
(via “The Ringer NBA Show”) pic.twitter.com/zQejkWHUXx
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 17, 2020
In that deal, which was reported by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, New Orleans would’ve landed Gordon Hayward, as well as the No. 14 pick, which Boston was conveyed from the Memphis Grizzlies stemming from the Jeff Green trade, the Celtics’ No. 26 pick, and the No. 30 pick which was originally owned by the Bucks, coincidentally, and eventually sent from the Phoenix Suns in the Aron Baynes deal.
Hayward has shown flashes of the star wing he was with the Utah Jazz, but has struggled to get back to that form full-time since the devastating injury that cost him his first season with Boston. He played 72 games this year, largely off the bench for the Celtics, and averaged 17.5 points and a career-high 6.7 rebounds, shooting .500/.383/.855 on the year. Injuries cost him late in the Orlando Bubble, and he played in just five of 17 playoff games for the Celtics.
The Milwaukee Bucks Jrue Holiday trade was the better one for New Orleans, especially considering the pick swaps, and the potential for Milwaukee to be among the dregs of the league, should Antetokounmpo not be around for some part of that 2024-27 stretch. It’s at least a fair bet that the Bucks’ championship window will be closed by then.
With that deal off the table, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that Hayward and the Boston Celtics looked to extend the deadline for him to decide on his $34.2 million player option from today to Thursday afternoon. Per a subsequent report, that was successful.
Per league source: Gordon Hayward and Boston have agreed to push Hayward’s player option deadline to Thursday, 11/19 at 5:00 PM ET.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 17, 2020
If nothing else, Hayward potentially agreeing to wait on opting-in is a sign Boston’s worst case scenario (Hayward walking away with nothing coming back for Boston) is probably not going to happen. Otherwise, there would be little reason for a delayed decision.
— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) November 17, 2020
With the NBA Draft coming up tomorrow, and the Celtics having that significant draft capital (which they likely want to consolidate) and potentially Gordon Hayward on the table, we could see GM Danny Ainge wheeling and dealing soon.
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