Jrue Holiday was out of the Eastern Conference for just a few days, and now it’s the Boston Celtics who will hope that the Olympic gold medalist and NBA champion can help deliver them another title banner.
The Celtics finalized a deal with Portland on Sunday to land Holiday, who was shipped to the Trail Blazers last week by Milwaukee in the trade that sent seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard to the Bucks.
Boston gave up two key pieces — point guard Malcolm Brogdon, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and forward Robert Williams — and Portland gets two future first-round draft picks. The Blazers will receive what would have been Golden State’s first-round pick in 2024 (top-four protected) and Boston’s first-round selection in 2029.
“We are excited to see Jrue in a Celtics uniform,” Celtics President Brad Stevens said. “He plays the game with a great competitive character and his impact on and off the court has been felt everywhere throughout his career.”
Holiday moves into the starting point guard spot in Boston that had been held in recent seasons by Marcus Smart, who was sent to Memphis during the offseason in a three-team trade (also including Washington) that brought Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics.
Smart is a dogged defender. And Holiday is the same. He’s a five-time All-Defensive selection — a first-teamer on that team last season — who has appeared on defensive player of the year ballots in each of the last three years, all with the Bucks.
The 33-year-old Holiday was an All-Star last year for the first time in a decade (he was an All-Star with Philadelphia in 2012-13) and is coming off a season in which he averaged 19.3 points and 7.4 assists, both better than his career averages of 16.4 points and 6.5 assists.
Flipping Holiday for Brogdon, Williams and more draft capital means the Trail Blazers have now turned Lillard into four players (with Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara also included as part of Wednesday’s deal), three first-round picks and two pick swaps. That’s a strong haul for Lillard, who was officially welcomed to Milwaukee by his new team on Saturday.
Williams averaged 7.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 209 games for the Celtics. Brogdon — who figures to be mentioned in trade talks elsewhere, with Portland now retooling following the Lillard move — is coming off a year when he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 44% shooting from 3-point range.
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