One of the most intriguing parts of the Damian Lillard trade from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Milwaukee Bucks was Portland acquiring All-Star guard Jrue Holiday. The veteran point is not expected to remain with the Blazers long. His talent level is too pronounced to make him a comfortable platoon with Portland’s first-round draft pick Scoot Henderson. His age doesn’t match with the rest of the roster.
Those conditions create the perfect storm for a follow-up trade as Portland tests Holiday’s value on the open market. Following the Lillard exchange, Brian Windhorst published a comprehensive list of possibilities for Holiday’s new home [subscription required]. The extensive roll call made clear that Portland should have no shortage of suitors should they choose to move their newest acquisition.
After suggesting that Holiday’s potential availability was THE topic among NBA league offices today, Windhorst dropped the following quote:
This is one of the rarest transactions you see in the NBA: a league-altering trade that begets another possible league-altering trade.
He then went on to elaborate. He listed multiple teams, including these three.
That would include the Miami Heat, who hadn’t been in touch with Portland formally in weeks, who could use Holiday in a variety of roles after losing guards Gabe Vincent and Max Strus this offseason. They still have the same young players, namely recent draft picks Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr., plus multiple future firsts they can use if Portland is willing to reconsider.
• Same for the Boston Celtics, who have been looking for a Malcolm Brogdon trade since June and have multiple first-round picks to offer for a player who could replace the defensive leadership of guard Marcus Smart. Holiday was a thorn in the Celtics’ side for years as a Buck and seeing him go West might be a relief, but what if they could acquire him themselves?
• For months, the Philadelphia 76ers have been embroiled in their James Harden mess and are facing stiff competition in the Eastern Conference. Making Harden an expiring contract and adding draft picks and potential far-out pick swaps could interest Portland, especially if they could then turn around and re-trade Harden to keep collecting draft assets.
Other possibilities were the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, and Golden State Warriors.
One of the most intriguing possibilities was Portland flipping Holiday for a veteran player and picks (such as in the Sixers-Harden scenario above) then moving that player for even more picks, adding to the store they already received from Milwaukee in the root trade for Lillard.
Stay tunes for more speculation on Holiday’s eventual destination and the haul the Blazers could receive as he moves.