Trade Machine Madness: Jrue Holiday Edition

Published: February 17, 2016

So as the trade deadline comes our way, rumors and speculation on possible trades have been plentiful for the New Orleans Pelicans. After analyzing what Chad Ford’s Detroit Piston trade would do for the Pelicans last week, I decided to analyze a couple of trades. But with biases often prevalent in these trades (see: Amin Elhassan’s refusal to answer those questions and all of Detroit jumping on BSS’s Twitter feed last week) I decided to contact a couple of local writers for each opposing team to see what they thought. Unfortunately, yesterday’s trade involving the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons wiped out two of my Ryan Anderson trades (and no one has responded to my other Ryan Anderson trades, which hopefully is not happening to GM Dell Demps right now.) So this article became a piece on what would happen if the Pelicans were to make Jrue Holiday available. This is not saying Holiday is available, but more a survey to see what the team could get for him if they looked around.

Trade #1

Pelicans get: Trey Burke, Alec Burks, and a lottery protected first round pick.

Jazz get: Jrue Holiday and Norris Cole.

A version of this trade was offered up by Kevin Pelton of ESPN. While Pelton had mentioned a second round pick, I added a lottery protected first round pick, since reports of the Pelicans considering Holiday “untouchable” have surfaced since then, and if the Jazz keep winning there is ‘less’ value to their pick. Also, I am greedy.

Why the Pelicans do it: The Pelicans get a young two-guard in Burks who can shoot the ball. Burks this season is shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc en route to 14.3 points per game (in a little over 27 minutes.) Unlike Holiday, whose contract expires the year the cap is projected to be at its highest (2017) Burks has signed a four year deal $42 million extension, that will make him a long-term player for the Pelicans. He is just 24, making him sync up with Davis more than current shooting guard and soon to be free agent Eric Gordon.

On top of that, Burke is an interesting fill-in at point guard. Still on his rookie deal, Burke launches a lot of threes (taking over four a game) and makes 34.7% of them. He is 23, and the team would get an extra year to take a look at him on his rookie deal before having to make a decision. The deal makes the team younger, and landing a second first round pick, the team would be clearing up their cap situation and bench a bit by having two first round picks this year (allowing them either to move up to get their ‘guy’ without giving up a player or to acquire two players on cap friendly four-year deals.)

Why I think the Jazz would do it: Jrue Holiday is an immediate upgrade at their current point guard position. For a team on the cusp of the playoffs, this move propels them forward enough to make the playoffs (and be a less than appealing first round matchup.) Holiday fits Coach Quinn Snyder’s mentality too, being a heady player who can play defense. The fact that Holiday is on a cap friendly contract till 2017 makes him sync up with the team’s timelines in regards to handing the reins over to point guard of the future Dante Exum, and when Gordon Hayward can opt out of his contract and command a monster max deal. Holiday also could work out and stay long term, with his ability to guard players at either backcourt spot.

What the Jazz beat reporter says: When contacting Andy Larsen of Salt City Hoops, he said the Jazz would love Holiday, commenting on the contract, how he’s “the best player in the deal,” and how he fits Snyder’s scheme and mentality. He said the Jazz front office though is ‘notoriously long-term oriented’, and “giving up two big long-term assets” in Burks and a first round pick would be too much. If the Pelicans were willing to do the trade without the first round pick (the Jazz have seven second round picks in the next two drafts) or with an asset lesser than Burks (he mentioned Jeff Withey, which hurt my soul a bit), he thinks the Jazz would attach the pick.

Personally, I think Burks, Burke and a couple of second round picks (maybe one in each draft) would be a good haul. It leaves the point guard position up for grabs, but gives the Pelicans their shooting guard of the future in Burks, with a couple of lottery ticket second round picks. On top of that, they don’t have to worry about overpaying Holiday at the end of next season. This might be worth a look.


Trade #2

Pelicans get: Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson’s expiring contract, Adrien Payne, Gorgui Dieng.

Rockets get: Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Andre Miller.

Minnesota Timberwolves get: Patrick Beverly, Norris Cole, Terrence Jones, and Sam Dekker.

Why the Pelicans do it: The Pelicans get the prototypical point guard to run their system. Rubio is an offensive monster, who gets rid of the ball quickly yet still acquires assists in an ungodly rate. Rubio’s Assist% (percentage of Assists while he is on the floor) has been over 40% the last two years (i.e. really good.) In contrast, besides Holiday’s 34 game 2013-2014 campaign, his Assist% has never come close to Rubio’s. This, on top of the fact that Holiday uses more possessions than Rubio (this year the difference in Usage rate is 28.3 to 17.7). While Rubio isn’t as good a shooter as Holiday, he’d be able to helm the offense, and contain gravity when running the pick and roll (this would probably preclude a future deal involving Tyreke Evans.)  Rubio is under contract for three years after this one, on a deal that will age extremely well, and is the same age as Holiday.

Dieng is the lagniappe in this trade, being a defensive anchor who could be Davis’ ‘bruiser’ for the foreseeable future. Dieng is averaging 9.4 points per game along with 7.1 rebounds per game in a little over 25 minutes a game. He also is averaging a steal and a block per game as well. He is an immediate and long-term upgrade over Omer Asik, and can be the kind of guy that Darren Erman can mold into being a defensive anchor. Between him and Davis, the team should have a great defensive starting lineup that could rebound the ball extremely well.

Payne offers the Pelicans an extra year after this one on his rookie contract, for the team to assess whether they can mine the potential that other teams have failed at. Lawson, as part of the Rockets trade this past offseason, waived his player option and is an aspiring contract. The Pelicans can cut him and keep the cap space this offseason.

Why I thought the Rockets would do it: They would acquire a stretch-4 in Ryan Anderson. The Rockets have long been rumored to covet Anderson, and in pairing him and Dwight Howard together, they’d be able to utilize the strengths of both players. In Holiday, they’d acquire the secondary ballhandler they coveted in Lawson, while having a better end of game lineup. Holiday combines the defensive ferocity of Beverly with the dribble penetration ability the team was hoping to acquire in Lawson. Miller is a smart vet that GM Daryl Morey covets. This move allows the team to avoid selling one of their two stars that they worked so hard to get.

Why I thought the Timberwolves would do it: The Timberwolves would replace Rubio with an even more beneficial contract in Beverly, a player who may actually be better than him defensively, and a better catch and shoot player.  The team would also get Terrence Jones, a potential stretch-4 who can shoot with range and play defense above the rim (averages 1.2 blocks per game in his career.) Swapping Dieng for Jones allows the team to move Karl Anthony-Towns to the center position and allows him to play with a Kentucky alum. The team would also get former first round pick Dekker, a rookie forward that can shoot from range, and Norris Cole, a ‘Sam Mitchell’ player who can fill the backup point guard role this year and is on an expiring contract.

But Eric Goldman of Canis Hoopus disagrees with me. When I sent him the trade, he said the deal is a ‘non-starter’ for him, due to Rubio and Dieng ‘who is playing very, very well.’ Despite the recent report from Frank Isola, who said that Rubio could be traded, Goldman said “at this point [Rubio is] the most radically underrated player in the NBA I think.”

In coming up with a counter trade, Goldman said that Anderson is an intriguing piece for Minnesota, and that he’d think of giving up Dieng and Kevin Martin, who the Wolves have been trying (and failing) at getting rid of, due to his $7.4 player option for next year. That trade would be interesting, giving the Pelicans some shooting as well as Dieng, but Goldman said he’d probably pass on that trade too, and I think Demps would as well. In the end, Holiday doesn’t make a homerun reload-not-rebuild trade work here which probably shows why the team will end up keeping him.



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