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Celtics acquire Jrue Holiday in blockbuster trade with Blazers

Celtics acquire Jrue Holiday in blockbuster trade with Blazers

Jrue Holiday was traded for the second time this week – this time to the Boston Celtics.

After being sent to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of Damian Lillard three-way trade, Holiday was flipped to the Celtics on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Celtics will send Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, a 2024 first-rounder and 2029 unprotected first-rounder to the Blazers in exchange for the two-time All-Star.

Multiple contenders expressed interest in Holiday, as he's a terrific two-way player who is also regarded as one of the best teammates and leaders in the NBA. Earlier this week, Basketball News' Blake Stern listed the Celtics as a perfect landing spot for Holiday, saying: 

By trading away Marcus Smart this summer, the Celtics lost the key cog to their juggernaut defense. Despite not having a Defensive Player of the Year award, Holiday would probably serve as an upgrade to Smart on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, helping the Celtics compete against the new-look Bucks in the East.

If they wish to enter the Holiday sweepstakes, they would need to trade Malcolm Brogdon ($22,500,000), whom they were close to dealing to the Clippers in July. Along with Brogdon, they would have to sacrifice either Al Horford ($10,000,000) or Robert Williams III ($11,571,429) to make the salaries work. They have all of their own draft picks to trade as well as the Golden State Warriors' pick in 2024, which they got from the Smart trade.

This has been a big week for contenders in the Eastern Conference, as the Milwaukee Bucks assembled arguably the best one-two punch in the league in Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo while the Celtics put another star-level player alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Co. 

Prior to this trade, it was tough to fully evaluate Portland's Lillard trade, since we knew that they planned on flipping Holiday. For this reason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks graded Portland’s trade return as “incomplete.”

Now, seeing all of the assets that they got back in exchange for Lillard, it certainly seems like a win for general manager Joe Cronin. And it's possible the Blazers aren't done, as they could flip Brogdon for additional picks and/or young players.

Last season, Holiday averaged 19.3 points, 7.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 threes and 1.2 steals, while shooting 47.9% from the field, 38.4% from three-point range and 85.9% from the free-throw line.

The two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive selection helped the Bucks win the 2021 NBA championship. He has won the NBA's Teammate of the Year award three times and was the recipient of the league's Sportsmanship Award in 2021.

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