Today saw the first noteworthy NBA news in what has felt like months and boy was it a barn burner! The Portland Trailblazers moved on from the face of their franchise Damian Lillard, sending him to the Milwaukee Bucks in a blockbuster three-team trade including the Phoenix Suns. Lillard now undoubtedly makes the Bucks favorites to win their second NBA Championship in the last four seasons. Clearly, they heard Giannis Antetokounmpo’s concerning non-commital comments to the franchise.
The most interesting storyline from this trade may be a former Sixers All-Star.
As a part of the trade, the Bucks had to part with a core member of their Championship roster, Jrue Holiday. Holiday has been an underrated player for the Bucks as Giannis often steals the headlines, however, it is fair to say the Bucks would not have won the Championship without Jrue. He is one of the most respected players in the NBA and his play backs it up. This past season Jrue secured his second All-Star selection in addition to his fifth All-NBA Defensive team in the last six seasons. He was in the running for Defensive Player of the Year and is arguably the best perimeter defender in the league today.
Immediately following the Lillard trade, Portland made it clear that they were going to be looking for an additional trade to move Holiday. This makes sense, as the 33-year-old guard does not necessarily match what the franchise is trying to do with a youth movement rebuild. It is no surprise that this news had many front offices working on potential trades for Jrue; that report supposedly includes the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers are attempting to rewrite their history with Jrue Holiday.
It may feel like an eternity ago, but before the Sixers went all in on “The Process”, Jrue Holiday was an All-Star in Philly. He even had his own fan section in the 200 level and it was electric. For those who do not remember, Jrue’s departure turned out to be one of the worst moves in franchise history as the return was the draft rights to Nerlens Noel, who in hindsight did not live up to expectations. So can the Sixers make this story come full circle and bring Jrue back to the City of Brotherly Love?
The pieces are in place for a skeleton of what a trade for Jrue might look like. James Harden wants to leave the Sixers and Jrue plays the same position as Harden. The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly still interested in Harden and there could be a path for a three-team trade with the Trailblazers. Naturally, Portland values younger assets and draft capital at this point, and matching salaries in the trade would have to be ironed out, but this could be a win-win-win situation.
So to Daryl Morey, you may not have been the General Manager who traded away Jrue Holiday, but you can be the one who brings him back home!