Following a blockbuster three-team trade that sent Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks and landed Holiday with the Portland Trailblazers, speculation about the Holiday trade sweepstakes has revved up to 11 on a scale of 1-10. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps got in on the discussion during an emergency version of the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast on Wednesday, September 27.
The pair, along with ESPN’s Tim McMahon, discussed all the potential trade partners who might be interested in Holiday and what the deals might look like. When Bontemps suggested the Warriors, he blew Windhorst’s mind.
“How about the Golden State Warriors?” Bontemps posed. “I would be calling left and right if I was Mike Dunleavy Jr. I have a nice, large $30 million expiring salary on my team in Chris Paul. I’ve got draft capital in the future. They’ve got Jonathan Kuminga, they’ve got Moses Moody, they’ve got future draft picks and they’ve got a giant expiring salary.”
“Talk about an ideal fit, my God,” Windhorst responded. “Jrue Holiday playing with Steph Curry? Wow.”
Warriors Will Need to Work Out Pick Owed to Boston Celtics in Order to Make Trade Offer for Jrue Holiday
As Bontemps noted, Paul’s part in the hypothetical deal would mostly just be salary filler. Kuminga and/or Moody would be nice pieces to fit into the young corps of talent Portland is building around No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson. The real prizes, however, would be the future first-round picks and pick swaps the Blazers would get from the Warriors in the deal.
Golden State owes its 2024 first-round pick to the Boston Celtics, which is top-4 protected next year, top-1 protected in 2025 and unprotected in 2026. Golden State has also already traded its 2030 first-round pick, but owns the rest of them in between.
“I tell you what, I wouldn’t feel so bad about late 20s swaps with the Golden State Warriors,” Windhorst said. “Ugh, I didn’t even think about it. I like it! I like it!”
It is exceedingly unlikely that the Warriors will finish as one of the NBA’s worst four teams this season, which means the pick is all but certain to convey to Boston for next year’s draft. However, because stipulations exist via protections that could push the pick into the future, the Celtics would need to agree to rework the details of the deal so that Golden State could use first-rounders from two of the next three seasons as part of trade negotiations with the Blazers for Holiday.
“You’d have to get Boston on board [with amending the deal], but you could potentially find a way to sweeten that for Boston, too,” Bontemps said. “But if I’m the Warriors, I’m trying. I’m trying. How about Jrue Holiday and Steph Curry in the same backcourt? That’d be pretty damn good.”
Jrue Holiday Trade Could Alter Warriors’ Starting Lineup
Some of the discussion swirling around the Warriors roster as it exists now involves whether or not Paul will start. When healthy, the Dubs’ starters from last season made up literally the best five-man lineup in the NBA. The year prior to that, the same starting lineup won a championship.
As such, busting up the starting group of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney sounds ludicrous — and doing it to satiate Paul’s ego as an 18-year starter in the NBA probably would be. However, the entrance of Holiday into the fold would change the conversation.
“You’d be having a real discussion about [their best starting lineup],” Bontemps said.
Adding Holiday would probably push Thompson into a sixth-man role, if for no other reason than that the Warriors likely couldn’t afford to lose the rebounding Looney provides and the versatile interior/perimeter defense of Green and Wiggins.
But Thompson’s laid-back personality, history with the team and his shooting ability make him a quality candidate to transition into a sixth-man role during his age-34 season. Adding the final year of Holiday’s $135 million contract before a player option next offseason wouldn’t be easy to absorb and could lead to difficult discussions on who to pay next summer — Holiday or Thompson?
That said, the Warriors are clearly in win-now mode over the next couple of years as the team’s Big 3 plays out the end of their collective prime. A deal for Holiday that sacrifices young players and future draft picks is the best way for Golden State to bully its way back to the top of the championship conversation in 2023-24.