After a massive blockbuster trade that saw Damian Lillard head to Milwaukee and Jrue Holiday land in Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers should be blowing up the Blazers' phones in an effort to land Jrue Holiday in a trade.
The Clippers won't be alone in a pursuit to land Holiday, as he's the perfect third star for a contender who can add a ton of value without always needing the ball in his hands. Holiday's defensive genius would fit perfectly for a Clippers team that has plenty of firepower but finished 18th in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency last season.
Portland should be very open to moving Holiday, for a variety of reasons. At 33 years old, and with Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, and Shaedon Sharpe on the roster, Portland should fully embrace a youth movement and clear the way for their young backcourt stars to shine. The Blazers aren't in a position to compete in a loaded Western Conference, so flipping Holiday to acquire more future assets who have a chance to star on the same timeline as Henderson makes plenty of sense.
The Clippers have been long overdue for a consolidation of assets in a major trade, as there are too many overlapping pieces and not enough playing time to go around. Terance Mann is a primary example of that, as he was legitimately LAC's third-best player at times last year but still only played 23 minutes a night.
Almost any trade talks for the Clippers will center around Mann, as he's the lone asset young enough and productive enough to be appealing to rebuilding teams outside of future draft picks. If the Clippers are truly hunting for another star, getting Mann is going to be a point of contention for every team. It certainly seems possible that the only reason James Harden isn't a Clipper right now is because Mann might not be included in the deal.
Is acquiring Jrue Holiday worth trading Mann? That's the big question the Clippers would be faced with, as it would seem difficult to land Holiday without him included in the deal. If the Clippers feel comfortable with Russell Westbrook starting at point guard after his late-season revival with the squad last year, they could attempt to play hardball and offer up other less attractive young players in Brandon Boston Jr., Jason Preston, or Kobe Brown.
Clippers get: Jrue Holiday
Blazers get: Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, Kobe Brown, Brandon Boston Jr., 2028 1st round pick (unprotected)
Would this Clippers offer be enough for the Blazers to jump on? Probably not.
While Portland could potentially flip Morris and Covington for future draft capital by using their expiring deals to take on an undesirable long-term contract elsewhere, that's not a major selling point. Getting an unprotected first-round pick from the Clippers given that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are only under contract for two more years (and getting up there in age) would have to be the biggest sell, and that should carry a lot of value. Brown and Boston Jr., while both talented, are fliers more than anything else, so this would need to be all about how badly Portland would covet that unprotected draft pick.
Other contenders could beat this deal, but with James Harden still available, the Clippers don't need to come over the top for Holiday. It seems clear that Holiday would be the much safer acquisition, but Harden's distributing and shooting would be a better fit offensively and perhaps provide the Clippers with a higher ceiling — albeit with a much lower floor — than Holiday's addition would.
The Clippers should be able to get either player if Mann is included in the deal, but with both star guards on the trade market and Russell Westbrook back, slow-playing the negotiations may be the most prudent thing to do. The Clippers absolutely should consolidate with a big trade and separate Ty Lue from Marcus Morris for everyone else's well-being at some point, but the perfect Clippers-Blazers trade offer for Jrue Holiday should keep Mann in Los Angeles if that's at all possible.