The Portland Trail Blazers made a major move on Wednesday, finally resolving one of the NBA's biggest storylines. They traded Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, receiving Jrue Holiday in return. However, it seems that the Blazers may not keep Holiday for long.
According to ESPN, the Blazers are expected to engage with other contending teams to trade Holiday. The team is committed to developing their group of talented young guards, including Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons.
This trade could also have implications for the Philadelphia 76ers and their standoff with James Harden. According to PHLY Sports, the Sixers are interested in acquiring Holiday to potentially resolve the Harden situation. They may face competition from other teams like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Clippers.
It's important to note the financial aspects of this trade. Holiday has a large cap hit this season and a player option in 2024-25. The Sixers could potentially match salaries by trading Harden for Holiday. However, Holiday's recent statement about not retiring anymore could make him an attractive long-term option for interested teams.
The Sixers have been dealing with the Harden trade request for several months now. With Lillard's future resolved, other teams who missed out on him may turn their attention to Harden. The Heat and Clippers, in particular, could feel the pressure to make a move and counter the Bucks' acquisition. A three-team deal involving the Blazers, Clippers, and Sixers has been suggested as a possibility.
Holiday brings a contrasting playing style to Harden. While Harden focuses on offense, Holiday is known for his defensive prowess and versatility. Acquiring Holiday would give the Sixers a safety net on both ends of the court, allowing Tyrese Maxey to take control of the offense.
The Sixers must weigh the value of acquiring Holiday against their available cap space. They need to understand Holiday's contract preferences before committing to a trade. Lowballing the Blazers for Holiday, as the Heat did in their negotiations, may not yield positive results.
It's important to consider the potential third team in any trade scenarios. They may prefer acquiring Holiday directly from the Blazers instead of trading for Harden from the Sixers. The Blazers may be open to different trade packages than the Sixers, making negotiations more flexible.
The Clippers have attractive salary-matching contracts and some young players to offer in a potential trade. Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington could be included in the discussion. Additionally, recent first-round picks such as Bones Hyland and Kobe Brown could sweeten the deal. Kenyon Martin Jr. may also be of interest to both the Blazers and the Sixers.
Acquiring Holiday could provide clarity on Maxey's future. If the Sixers feel confident about keeping Holiday long-term, they could pivot and sign Maxey to a contract extension. This would prevent him from entering restricted free agency in 2024.
There are numerous reasons for the Sixers to pursue a trade for Holiday, especially considering the Harden situation. However, the success of any trade will depend on what the Blazers are seeking in return and if the Sixers can outbid other interested teams.