The Boston Celtics may have to deal with Giannis Anteotkounmpo teaming up with Damian Lillard on the Milwaukee Bucks but they are fighting back. Just ahead of training camp, they have made a splash to land Jrue Holiday.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics have landed Holiday and will send Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon and two first-round picks, one of which is for 2024 and the other for 2029, to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Celtics were one of many playoff teams looking to land Holiday and beat out Eastern Conference foes like the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers to find their replacement for Marcus Smart. They acquired the 2024 pick (via the Golden State Warriors) that they traded to Portland in the deal that sent Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies and brought Kristaps Porzingis to Boston. The Celtics were the betting favorite to land Holiday.
Wojnarowski reports that Boston was one of the teams Holiday most wanted to go to after being used by the Bucks to land Lillard. The Celtics “are eager” to keep him long-term. Holiday has one more guaranteed year on his contract and a player option for next season.
In 67 games last season, Jrue Holiday averaged 19.3 points, 7.4 assists, a career-high 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from deep. One of the best defensive guards in basketball, he should fit very well with the Celtics, who have the offensive firepower around him to help cover up for his scoring inefficiency in the postseason.
Injury concerns aside, trading Williams is a bit risky for the Celtics. The 25-year-old center has been super effective when healthy and provided important rebounding and defense. Adding Holiday and getting rid of Brogdon — who was very unhappy with the franchise after almost being traded earlier in the offseason — should make it a worthwhile move, though.
The Blazers made Holiday one of the key assets they got back in exchange for Lillard. Now, as they look to flip Brogdon and bring Williams in, they have three more draft picks, two pick swaps and some young players in Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara as they say turn the franchise story to a new chapter.