New Orleans Pelicans Receive $3m from Philadelphia for Undisclosed Jrue Holiday Injury

Published: June 30, 2015

((On the eve of the new NBA season, as we all await to see what the New Orleans Pelicans do with their roster, we bring an update to ours. Meet Shamit Dua. You can follow him at @FearTheBrown, and please do. He’s been in the community for a while, and he is one of those reddit guys. He also goes by Kumar just as much as Shamit, so, pick. Either way, welcome him. The following is his introductory piece.))

Saturday night the Philadelphia Inquirer released a report stating the New Orleans Pelicans received $3 million in compensation from the 76ers for withholding information regarding Jrue Holiday’s injury history. Sources report that Holiday incurred and played through a stress fracture in the later part of the 2012-2013 season.

Holiday, who was acquired on a draft night trade which sent Nerlens Noel and a future first to Philadelphia, suffered a stress reaction in his lower right leg in early January of 2014. The injury later required a surgical procedure and curtailed his first season as a Pelican. Unfortunately, Holiday’s woes didn’t end here. The injury resurfaced again earlier this year and kept Holiday out for another 42 games.

There are a few things to address here. Naturally there is outrage from Pelicans fans, but we have a limited set of facts to work with. Until more details are released, if ever, here is what we know.

  • Both general managers Dell Demps and Sam Hinkie have no comments on the situation at the moment. We can only speculate as to why both are refraining to comment. Naturally, this works in Hinkie’s favor and allows him not to incriminate himself if the reports are true; however this also allows Demps to not throw a colleague under the bus. NBA relationships are a very political and complicated matter, there is no need to throw in additional wrenches.
  • The 76ers were being independently investigated by the NBPA for violations of the collective bargaining agreement. Some fans were concerned this was related to the Holiday issue, but it is believed the NBPA was looking into unguaranteed contracts and certain patterns that may have been more against the spirit of the CBA than against violating any particular rule or engaging in outright deceit.
  • In 2012, then NBA commissioner David Stern punished the Oklahoma City Thunder for withholding information about a heart condition that Jeff Green had. The NBA declared, “Stern found that there was no evidence of bad faith or any intent to withhold information on the part of Thunder management or its physicians, but that Oklahoma City’s cardiologists were in possession of information about Jeff Green that was not shared with Thunder management and that should have been disclosed to the Celtics in connection with the trade of Green in February 2011.” This infraction cost the Thunder the better of their second round picks they held that year.
  • The report states the Pelicans received their money last year. The NBA, the 76ers, and the Pelicans all presumably discussed the relevant details and at some point reached an appropriate conclusion. This money has no impact on the Pelican’s cap situation, but as Jason detailed recently, the Pelicans use cash in a variety of ways.
  • Since this was resolved long ago, it is unreasonable to expect any further compensation or alteration of the deal for Holiday. As stress reactions and stress fractures are often very treatable with only rest, the deal would likely have gone through with little to no modification. The payment is likely a punitive measure against Philadelphia than some form of equitable compensation for New Orleans. In other words, this is not something to make it right so much as a move to make sure it does not happen again.

Now everyone is probably wondering how this may have slipped by the Pelicans’ notice in the first place. Stress reactions are complicated injuries. They are difficult to diagnose, and sometimes require patient testimony. I don’t claim to know what goes on in NBA physicals, but it is likely they do not image specific areas of the body unless there is concern to do so. Since they did not know of the previous injury, they likely had no reason to evaluate his shins.

The good news is that every bit of additional information regarding the history of the injury helps the doctors understand the nature of the injury and adjust their treatment accordingly, just as New Orleans could have done early on if they knew that Holiday played through a seemingly not-too-serious stress fracture. Holiday playing through the stress fracture in 2013 not only may explain his sudden decline in production during the second half of the season, but also may explain why the issue has lingered. While we can’t go back and undo the past, the important thing here is that he is on his way to recovery.

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