Clippers Eyeing Former 1st-Round Pick Before Deadline

Aaron Holiday

Getty Indiana Pacers point guard Aaron Holiday

With only one sunset remaining before the NBA trade deadline (March 25 at 3 p.m. ET) the walls are beginning to close in on teams looking to buy or sell.

The Los Angeles Clippers are presumptive buyers, and given how much time Patrick Beverley is spending in street clothes these days (not to mention the troublesome defense of Reggie Jackson and Lou Williams) an upgrade at point guard is likely.

Several names have appeared time and again as potential targets — from headliners like Kyle Lowry (Toronto) and Lonzo Ball (New Orleans) to less-sexy but reliable floor leaders like George Hill (Oklahoma City) and Ricky Rubio (Minnesota).

And now, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Indiana Pacers point guard Aaron Holiday could also be an option.

Interest Despite Dwindling Minutes

Drafted 23rd overall by the Pacers in 2018, Holiday had often enjoyed the favor of head coach Nate McMillan, who touted the UCLA product’s value as a solid backup point guard. In October of 2019, the Pacers even picked up the third-year team option on Holiday’s rookie contract.

“I think he’s going to be a really good guard in this league,” McMillan told reporters in April of 2019. “He’s going to be able to play and help us. He keeps himself ready to play and when he’s called upon, he’s gotten in the game and played solid minutes for us.”

Aaron Holiday 25 Points Full Highlights (12/28/2019)This game was, according to sources on the internet I trust very much, the first time in NBA history that three brothers had shared the court together. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, and Jrue Holiday, like I needed to tell you their names. We had recently had an Antetokounmpo trio who were all active but didn't…2019-12-29T03:55:20Z

McMillan, however, was fired last August after the Pacers were swept in the first round of the playoffs, and since then Holiday has struggled to find productive minutes under new coach Nate Bjorkgren amidst a backcourt featuring Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell and a now-healthy Caris LeVert.

In 41 games this season, Holiday is averaging 6.9 points in just 18 minutes of floor time. And his shooting percentages — 37.0% from the field and 33.1% from 3— are the lowest of his short career. In the Pacers’ last game, a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Holiday put up a big, fat goose egg, going 0-for-4 on 3-pointers, 0-for-7 overall and contributing zero assists. (He did have two steals, though.)

Asking Price Could be Too High

Despite his struggles, Scotto reports that Indiana is asking for a first-round pick in return for Holiday — a hefty sum and something the Clippers aren’t capable of providing at this point following the costly acquisition of Paul George in 2019.

But L.A. does have a boatload of second-rounders in its pocket. So if they really wanted Holiday, the Clippers could conceivably unload some of their second-round picks to another team in exchange for a first-round pick, then turn around and use that pick to acquire Holiday. An unlikely scenario, but an option nonetheless.

The Clippers could also package two of their younger players to get Holiday in a straight-trade. Terance Mann and Daniel Oturu would together more-or-less match Holiday’s $2.34 million salary. But that also seems improbable mainly given Mann’s increasingly stellar play this season, not to mention the trade interest he’s received from other teams around the league.

Mann was instrumental in the Clippers’ thrilling 22-point comeback Monday against the Atlanta Hawks, scoring 17 points in the second half and helping to lock down Hawks point guard Trae Young.

The most likely scenario for the Clippers, according to Scotto, is that they first aim for Rubio or Hill, and then maybe look at options for Holiday if the other guys don’t pan out.

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