NBA Trade Rumors: Familiar Roadblocks For Jrue Holiday-to-Miami Heat Deal

Jrue Holiday, Pelicans

Getty Jrue Holiday, Pelicans

The Pelicans don’t want to trade Jrue Holiday. That was not the team’s intention, not for this season at least.

According to sources, New Orleans has made it clear that it’s their preference to keep Holiday, have him be a stabilizing veteran force as the team continues its rebuild—especially with Zion Williamson expected to return within a couple of weeks—and look ahead toward trying to put the team back into the postseason next year. Alternatively, the plan is to explore trading Holiday in the offseason.

Holiday has a strong relationship with the Pelicans that predates the arrival of team VP David Griffin. When Holiday’s wife, Lauren Holiday, needed brain surgery while pregnant in 2016, the team granted him an indefinite leave of absence. “We’re behind them one hundred percent,” coach Alvin Gentry said at the time, and Holiday appreciated that support.

Conversely, the organization valued Holiday’s professionalism last year when the team went into a tailspin with the messy trade request lodged by center Anthony Davis. Holiday managed to stay above that fray throughout the season.

None of that has changed. But that doesn’t mean the Pelicans won’t listen to trade options for Holiday, and would run acceptable scenarios past him. As the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, “Holiday has embraced the leadership position this season, but he wants to compete at the age of 29 with free agency looming for him in 2021.”

The Pelicans just aren’t competing this season, at 9-23 and 14th in the Western Conference. They’ve played better lately, but realistically, this team has dug too deep a hole to get themselves out. Feeling out the market for Holiday makes sense.

Heat Have Little to Offer For Jrue Holiday Trade

One of the most prominent teams mentioned as a potential suitor is Miami, which has been looking for a second star to put with Jimmy Butler since it acquired Butler in the summer. The Heat neared a deal with Houston for Russell Westbrook and discussed one with Oklahoma City about Chris Paul, but neither move materialized.

Ultimately, though, the same roadblocks that killed the potential for a Paul or Westbrook trade to the Heat are in place for a Holiday deal. The Heat are among the poorest teams in the league when it comes to draft assets. Because of other trades, they can only trade their first-rounder in either 2025 or 2026.

They have traded away every one of their own second-round picks possible (teams can only trade picks seven years out) and have only a 2022 second-rounder from either Denver or Philadelphia, whichever is worse, coming in.

The Heat have told inquiring teams that Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are untouchable, according to sources. If that holds true, Miami would either need to find a way to acquire more first-rounders or persuade the Heat to take on a package built around Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, some combination of Kendrick Nunn and/or Duncan Robinson and a 2025 first-rounder.

The Pelicans would likely pass on that offer, even if Winslow was not dealing with a worrisome back injury.

And so, again, the Heat are left with an interesting piece that could wind up on the market and could push the franchise into legitimate contention. Miami is 22-8, third in the East, with seven wins in its last nine games. Adding Holiday, an excellent defender capable of manning both guard positions—he averages 19.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists—vaults the Heat toward the top of the league.

But the Pelicans are not eager to move Holiday and if the Heat can’t offer a deal that includes Adebayo or Herro, it’s hard to imagine Miami putting together a good enough package to spark a trade. Someone else—Denver, perhaps, Philadelphia or Toronto—might make a more worthwhile offer. It’s hard to see how the Heat can get there, however.

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