The Pelicans have had an exceptionally disappointing season thus far; belittled by injuries left and right and missing their 2019 No. 1 overall pick in Zion Williamson, New Orleans currently sits at 6-22 on the season. There have been bright spots, most notably in the form of Brandon Ingram, but overall the season has not been what they hoped.
As such, they appear to be planning on selling at the trade deadline. Marc Stein reported on Tuesday that the Pelicans would be willing to part with All-Star guard Jrue Holiday after making him unavailable all summer in trade discussions. As Stein notes, it would take a hefty price to pry the 29-year-old PG away from New Orleans, but discussions will be had. Here are three teams that are best suited for Holiday's talents.
Miami presents the most obvious combination of fit and potential assets for Holiday. Jimmy Butler is 30 and wants to win now. His supporting cast consists almost entirely of young, up-and-coming players who are performing very while right now, but the question remains if they can keep it up for an 82-game season, much less when the playoffs roll around. Miami would have to give up a lot, but Pat Riley is a man who lives like he has no regrets, and the top of Eastern Conference is a warzone right now. If the Heat truly want to win now, giving up Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn along with someone like Myers Leonard would be the most realistic trade. Holiday would be an excellent fit next to Butler as a defensive point guard who can both create and play off the ball, whichever the situation demands.
The Mavericks' timeline has been accelerated significantly with the sudden rise of Luka Doncic. Yes, we all figured he'd be good, but not this good, this fast. Plus, after putting an end to Milwaukee's winnings streak on the road, it seems like Kristaps Porzingis is rounding into form after his year and a half off. Mark Cuban will want to capitalize, and Holiday should be their top target. He can run the offense when Doncic is on the floor and can take most of the tougher backcourt defensive assignments. His veteran leadership will go a long way for a young team, too. Their asset cupboard is a bit dry after the Porzingis trade, but sending out Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Jackson works salary-wise. Add in the Golden State second-rounder that will essentially end up being a late first-rounder and perhaps a young talent in Jalen Brunson, this could work.
The Nuggets sit at fourth in the Western Conference right now, riding on the back of an elite defense. Nikola Jokic hasn't had the year we thought he would, but he's still a top-three big man in the NBA who is an offense unto himself. But it's always an arms race in the West when LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are battling for the top seeds. As far as fit, Jrue Holiday could slot in next to Jamal Murray as the perfect complement to the hot-shooting PG and would boost an already-excellent defense. If Denver offers Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Monte Morris, their depth takes a hit, but Holiday would give them a well-rounded starting five that could give them the boost they need to move from very good to elite.