NBA Daily: The Next Stop for Jrue Holiday

We independently review everything we recommend based on our strict editorial guidelines. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More

The New Orleans Pelicans are headed for a rebuild, a long one.

The Pelicans have watched a superb start turn sour to the tune of a 23-29 record and trade request from their star player, Anthony Davis, on the cusp of the February trade deadline. With Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle and E’Twaun Moore reportedly available for the right price, Pelicans fans should expect things to get much worse before they get any better.

Still, there should be hope that things move along quickly.

The package Davis could return alone should be enough to jump-start any rebuild. But there is more to this Pelicans roster than Davis; aside from that aforementioned trio, there are a number of different players that New Orleans could swap for future assets. Chief among them, and perhaps second to Davis in potential impact, is Jrue Holiday.

Holiday has flourished during his time in New Orleans. He has averaged a career-high in points (21.2), rebounds (4.9), and assists (eight) this season and earned himself a five-year, $131 million contract just over a year ago. But now, with things the way they are, Holiday’s time for New Orleans may not be long. While he won’t bring back the same return as Davis, Holiday should net a significant asset whether that be a young player, pick or some combination of the two.

So, what teams could look to make a significant addition in Holiday, either now or sometime during the offseason?

Oklahoma City Thunder

At 32-18 and sitting at the third spot in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder have found themselves in a good spot at the 50-game mark. Russell Westbrook has struggled with his shot at times, but Paul George has put forth an MVP-caliber effort that has propelled the team throughout the season.

Still, the Thunder roster is far from perfect. And, as many would agree, complacency can lead to utter disaster for even the steadiest of teams.

If there is one thing the Thunder need, it is some consistent beyond-the-arc threats. Outside of George, the best three-point options on the team consist of Terrence Ferguson, Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder. Ferguson has shot an excellent 38.9 percent from deep, but done so on just 144 attempts. Likewise, Grant and Schroder have both shot a decent percentage, but have combined for just 358 total attempts

For comparison, George has attempted 433 three-point shots on the year.

The lack of viable outside options is only exacerbated when Westbrook, who has shot an abysmal 25 percent from three, is on the floor, and should only get worse upon the return of Andre Roberson and in the postseason. Enter Holiday, a career 35.7 percent three-point shooter that has attempted more threes than any non-George player on the Thunder roster this season. While the price tag is a heavy one, Holiday represents an upgrade, in both basketball ability and postseason experience, over Ferguson, Schroder or whomever else the Thunder deem fit to start alongside Westbrook.

Holiday’s defensive impact would also be a major boon to a Thunder team that already boasts the second-best defense in the NBA.

Utah Jazz

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Utah Jazz have entertained the thought of a Ricky Rubio-Mike Conley swap with the Memphis Grizzlies.

But should Utah turn away from Conley, whether it be because of his injury history, the Grizzlies’ asking price, or otherwise, Holiday could easily step into the role should the Jazz push hard for an addition before the trade deadline.

The Jazz desperately need another playmaker to pair with Donovan Mitchell on the perimeter — not only to give Mitchell the occasional breather, but to open things up on the inside for Rudy Gobert — and, while either Conley or Holiday could slot into that role, Holiday presents the Jazz with a younger, more versatile and often less injured alternative. While both guards are above average on the defensive end, Holiday’s size advantage over Conley would allow him to more freely move around Quin Snyder’s defense as well.

And, while his contract runs longer than Conley’s, Holiday is due less money than Conley through the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, which could make him a more attractive option in the long-term view.

Philadelphia 76ers

How fitting a Holiday homecoming would be.

Holiday was drafted by and played his first four seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers before he was traded to New Orleans for the rights to Nerlens Noel and a first-round pick (which was subsequently traded to Orlando). Six years later, and in the shadow of the Markelle Fultz saga, Philadelphia is in desperate need of a guard that can handle the ball, play solid defense and shoot the long-ball.

They may find no better fit than Holiday on the open market.

With Ben Simmons at the point, Holiday could easily slide into the lineup right next to him at the two-guard spot. His presence would not only allow Brett Brown to play J.J. Redick off the bench and adding some much-needed shooting to the second unit but, with an eye on the postseason, Holiday, much like he would with Mitchell and the Jazz, would allow Ben Simmons some time off the ball while his shooting would open things up for Joel Embiid down low.

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns’ rebuild has been a multi-season excursion. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel; Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and a bevy of other young talents give the Suns the look of a team on the rise, or at least one soon to be.

Now, all the Suns need is a point guard.

Not only would Holiday be a perfect fit alongside the defensively-deficient Devin Booker, but he would bring some veteran poise and postseason experience to one of the most inexperienced rosters in the NBA. While he may not bring an immediate turnaround, giving Holiday the rest of this year plus an entire offseason to engrain himself into the team culture and establish a presence in the locker room could go a long way in turning the Suns’ losing ways around.

Orlando Magic

Like the Suns, the Orlando Magic have been on the hunt for a point guard for quite some time.

Their frontcourt has the potential to be one of the best in the NBA; freshly minted All-Star Nikola Vucevic, along with Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba give the Magic a rangy, supremely athletic group. However, the backcourt, specifically the point guard position, has held the team back tremendously.

With the Pelicans heading for a teardown, now may be a better time than ever to upgrade the position.

D.J. Augustin, Jerian Grant and the bevy of bodies the Magic have rotated through the position have performed admirably over the years, but those players are backups at best on more competitive rosters. Right now, Orlando is slated to select seventh in the upcoming draft, but there isn’t a player that could push them out of their rebuild like Holiday.

Detroit Pistons

If the Detroit Pistons want to make the postseason, they have to do something, almost anything, to shake up a roster that has looked mediocre at times this season and not so great at others.

Despite a 22-28 record, Detroit still has a chance to reach the postseason. But the roster is a shell outside of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond; the duo have been an awkward fit with Reggie Jackson while the rest of the roster, at best, is made up of role players. Holiday would provide an instant upgrade and a necessary one if the Pistons are to have any chance of making the playoffs.

Davis is the biggest name on the market, but it would be a mistake to overlook Holiday as an upgrade or an attractive trade chip. With the trade deadline inching closer, expect to see his name out there as teams look to upgrade and the rumor mill picks up speed.