The Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans are two teams heading in different directions. The latter is in the midst of a rebuild, focused on developing young talent for a future run. The former is comprised of championship-level veterans, eager to reclaim their place atop the NBA’s hierarchy.
Understandably, a lot of people have seemingly forgotten about the Warriors. After an injury-plagued campaign that saw them play the majority of their 2019-20 outings without Stephen Curry, and all of their games without Klay Thompson, the most dominant NBA franchise of the past decade currently has zero buzz.
That being said, next season Curry and Thompson are coming back fully healthy. And while they will obviously be without Kevin Durant, this is a group that has already won one title without him and came within a Draymond Green groin shot of another.
All the Warriors really need is a little bit of additional talent to push them over the edge, and then they will be able to give the Los Angeles Lakers a real challenge atop the Western Conference .
The big question is: who will that “little bit of additional talent” be?
According to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports, the answer might be Jrue Holiday.
“I think they are going to obviously try to get Jrue Holiday in New Orleans,” he said of the Warriors.
“Jrue Holiday is an elite perimeter defender, he may not have made All-Defense but I think he is right up there with the best perimeter defenders in the league, and I think he’d be a great fit next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“He’s not going to come cheaply, so in order to get someone like Jrue Holiday, you’ll have to give up assets, and certainly David Griffin would be asking for a boatload of whatever the Golden State Warriors have.”
Holiday would be an exceptional addition to Golden State’s roster. He is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and would instantly upgrade the Warriors on that side of the ball.
Earlier this year, Durant explained just how suffocating Holiday is defensively.
“You put Jrue in any system, any coach is going to ask him to guard the best player,” he said on JJ Redick’s podcast.
“We played them in 2018, second round and he guarded me the whole series. He was picking me up full court, he was guarding me in the post. Actually, it was tough to dribble on Jrue Holiday. He slides his feet so well, he’s got good hands, he’s strong, he’s got good instincts.
“I gained a lot of respect for him in that series because he went from guarding me to Klay (Thompson) to Steph (Curry) to guarding Draymond (Green), neutralizing picks and rolls. He’s special. He’s special on that side of the ball.”
Things are about to get real interesting. https://t.co/1OzL7DlZ46
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 12, 2020
Holiday is currently partially through a five-year, $131.8 million contract. The 30-year-old is due to make $25.4 million next season and $26.3 million the following year. In 2021-22 he has a player option, and then he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Clearly, Holiday doesn’t fit on a Pelicans team that is focused on the future. The big question is simply whether the Warriors have enough assets to get him, when the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Nets are all also expected to vie for his services.
Golden State will definitely offer up this year’s first round draft pick, since they don’t seem particularly enamored with any of the options available, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough.
Bottom line, though – if the Warriors can get Holiday, they should do so by any means necessary.
Beyond just being a great talent on the court, Holiday is also beloved for the way he carries himself in general.
Magic knows what’s up. https://t.co/dHlPKXiAuE
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 12, 2020
This past year he was honored with the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award.
Holiday got 53 of 267 first-place votes, beating out Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kyle Korver of the Milwaukee Bucks and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat.
As things currently stand, odds makers list the Warriors behind the Lakers, Clippers and Bucks as far as 2021 title odds. If they’re able to pull off a deal for Holiday, it’s hard to see them not at the very least leap-frogging Milwaukee.