The Athletic’s Shams Charania had the scoop Wednesday morning. He reported the Pelicans’ plans to part ways with Holiday but should the Boston Celtics put together its best-packaged deal and join the list of teams vying for the veteran’s services?
A Gordon Hayward & Jrue Holiday Swap?
Fittingly, this news drops on the same week we found out Ryen Russillo is hearing Gordon Hayward wants out of Boston. Russillo and Bill Simmons ranked the best destination for Gordon’s next stop if he were to enter free agency; Atlanta with the Hawks; a team looking for a veteran to add to its young core.
However, the Pelicans are another team that would be easy for Hayward to adapt to. Led by a promising future in All-Star, NBA’s Most Improved Player Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Lonzo Ball, Gordon would add another layer to Stan Van Gundy’s impressive starting unit, including efficient scoring, playmaking, and 3-point shooting.
In light of Hayward’s percentages – 50% from the floor, 38.3% from behind the arc in 2019-20 – he’d technically be an upgrade compared to Holiday, who connected on 36% of his 3-pointers last season while shooting at a less than 46% clip, overall. Holiday also averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals last season in a more prominent role in contrast to Hayward, who averaged three fewer attempts per game (13.5) than Jrue to go with his 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists a night.
Gordon Hayward’s Value In Free Agency
Still, Hayward would have to opt-in to his $34.2 million option in order for the Celtics to complete the deal. If Gordon plays ball, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge wouldn’t have to see one of his max guys walk without any compensation. But how much do the Pelicans value Hayward – one of the most injury-plagued players at the wing position the league has seen in recent years – at this phase in his career?
Would the Celtics have to send draft picks, along with a bench player or two, to sweeten the deal? It’s probably the best Ainge is willing to offer, at this point.
However, free agency will answer most of these questions, especially, the most important answer related to the topic of how happy Hayward truly is with the Celtics. Another thing to keep in mind is November 18’s NBA Draft, unfortunately for Boston, it can’t dangle its No. 14 pick in a trade including Hayward prior to Hayward’s free agency decision unless both sides make a mutual agreement, beforehand, which is least likely to happen.
Holiday has two years left on his five-year, $131.8 million contract. Next season is worth $25.3 million, 2021-22 is a player-option at $26.2 million.
A long-term deal is still in play at the start of free agency but if Boston can rope in a legitimate replacement in Holiday, right now, without sacrificing much outside of Hayward then that’s an ideal way to do business if you’re Ainge.