It didn’t take long for the first trade rumors in Daryl Morey’s tenure as the Philadelphia 76ers’ President of Basketball Operations to intrigue Sixers fans. Reports that the Sixers are expected to be interested in and pursue James Harden may not be worth much attention yet as the Houston Rockets don’t want to trade their franchise player right now, but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless. Now, another guard who’s been discussed for some time as a possible target for the Sixers has appeared in trade discussions again.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the New Orleans Pelicans are “openly discussing” Jrue Holiday in trade talks, and several contenders are involved.
Holiday has appeared in trade rumors for some time. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported back in December last year that Holiday was available, and he’s often been a popular suggestion for the Sixers. There were even rumors a couple of months ago that Philly and New Orleans had some interest in making a trade. If it comes to it and the Sixers don’t pursue other options such as Chris Paul or Buddy Hield, they could offer some combination of Al Horford, possibly Josh Richardson, and sweetener (i.e. draft picks or a young player) to try and land the former Sixer guard.
A Holiday trade clearly makes sense in some areas. He’s a terrific defender who can hound opposing guards and switch up onto some bigger wings with his size and strength, and would provide a welcome boost of playmaking and some extra perimeter creation. He’d also add a small dose of much-needed pull-up shooting — he attempted 3.2 pull-up threes per game last season and made them at a 34.7 percent clip.
Holiday isn’t an ideal fit, though, mainly due to his limitations as a scorer and shooter. He’s fine as a shooter, but 35.3 percent from three on 5.7 attempts per game last season (35.4 percent for his career) is far from special, and he doesn’t get to the free throw line as much as the Sixers could use (3 attempts per game last season). This helped lead to his True Shooting Percentage of only 53.7 last season — well below someone like CP3 at 61 percent.
Only time will tell exactly what Daryl Morey has in mind for the Sixers this offseason and whether he’s able to trade away Horford, who seems more likely to depart in comparison to Tobias Harris, given the higher salary of the latter and the extra year on his contract. Whatever happens, draft night, free agency and the coming weeks will be incredibly interesting to follow now that someone as smart and creative as Morey is in charge.