Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 24
NOP Receives: PG Eric Bledsoe, PF Thon Maker, SG Donte DiVincenzo, SG Pat Connaughton
MIL Receives: PG Jrue Holiday, SG Ian Clark
Almost all the talk in the NBA these days is centered around the final destination of Anthony Davis -- and with good reason! But if New Orleans is moving him, there's no reason for them to keep a piece as big and expensive as Jrue Holiday. So...they don't.
The biggest name and biggest contract coming back belongs to Eric Bledsoe. Though this is his ninth season in the NBA, Bledsoe is still on the right side of 30, and has a contract expiring at the end of the season, so the Pelicans can decide to try to re-sign him if they like what they see, or part ways with him and have $15 million more in cap space.
The bigger lure for New Orleans can be found in the form of Maker and DiVincenzo, two recent 1st round picks of the Bucks. Maker went public recently with his desire to make a bigger contribution to whatever team he's on, so he'd be very satisfied with a trade. DiVincenzo is still a rookie, just 21 years old, and was thought by very few a candidate to declare for the draft until his lights-out performance in the 2018 Final Four -- he's a player on the rise.'
Connaughton and Clark are mostly a wash, but the exchange does give New Orleans a little more youth at a cost-controlled rate -- why not extract just a little more from Milwaukee if they're giving up Holiday?
Holiday makes a ton of sense in Milwaukee. He's having the definition of a career year, averaging new highs in points, rebounds, and assists per game. He's not a conventional point guard, though, but is comfortable playing off another ball-handler -- a perfect pairing for a Bucks team going through Giannis. Holiday does come with a serious salary, but it's the same as Otto Porter Jr.'s -- I'm sure Washington would love it if they were getting Holiday's 21.2ppg-4.9rpg-8.1apg out of him.
Since Holiday has a player option for the 2021-22 season, the Bucks would be assured a running mate for Giannis even if Khris Middleton left, and if Middleton returned, that's a core that would compete for a spot in the Finals every year it was together.
That said, this is a move for now. The Bucks lead the East, and windows in the NBA are never open as long as they seem. Eight months ago, Anthony Davis was leading the 6th-seeded Pelicans to an opening round sweep of the 3rd-seeded Trailblazers, and it looked like New Orleans was finally capitalizing on the Brow's promise. Now he's guaranteed to be traded, and the Pelicans are in shambles -- the only reason Holiday is even available.
As one of the NBA's smaller markets, Milwaukee has to show Giannis that he can win without going anywhere else, and Jrue Holiday would go a long way towards proving that is the case.