Written by Shams Charania, Jared Weiss, Jay King, and Jason Quick
The Portland Trail Blazers have traded point guard Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics, according to league sources. In exchange for Holiday, Portland would receive guard Malcolm Brogdon, center Rob Williams, Boston’s unprotected 2029 first-round pick and the Golden State Warriors’ 2024 first-round pick, a team source said.
The deal comes four days after Holiday headed to Portland in a three-team trade that sent Blazers star Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks. The deal included the Trail Blazers acquiring Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Kamara, the Bucks’ 2029 first-round pick, and trades to the Bucks in 2028 and 2030.
Sunday’s trade is a big win for Portland, which has now turned Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Nasser Little and Keon Johnson into Ayton, Williams, Brogdon, three first-round picks and two pick swaps. It’s also a dramatic move by Boston to pay a hefty price for an All-Star player approaching his mid-30s with a player option after this season, showing just how hard the Celtics are chasing a championship.
After trading longtime franchise cornerstone Marcus Smart for Kristaps Porzinis early in the offseason, president Brad Stevens moved Williams, a fan-favorite player, as part of a large package to secure the offseason. But with the Bucks ascending to the title after the Lillard trade, the Celtics had to make another sacrifice to continue the Eastern Conference arms race.
This also resolves the issue of Brogdon, who felt aggrieved after a deal to send him to the Los Angeles Clippers fell through during Porziņģis trade talks in June. Brogdon, the 2023 sixth man, preferred a fresh start elsewhere after he was on the verge of being traded, according to league sources who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely.
Boston is finalizing a deal for forward/center Wenen Gabriel, league sources said Sunday. Gabriel, who averaged 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, will compete for a backup spot in Boston.
His strong play for South Sudan at the FIBA World Cup this summer helped secure the team’s first Olympic berth. Gabriel averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds with the South Sudan National Team, and has been practicing with the Celtics in Boston in recent weeks.
The athleteReal-time analysis:
Are the Celtics the favorite in the East?
They were one of my favorites already. They remain that way with Holiday on the roster. I don’t know if I would personally put them ahead of the Bucks in the rankings of title contenders, but I would put these two teams on their own level ahead of any other team in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics now have two of the best defensive guards in the NBA in Holiday and Derrick White. Two of the best wings in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; And two very good two-way big men in Porzinis and Al Horford. Although Boston’s depth and size were affected by this trade, the Celtics should have enough talent at the top of the roster to pose serious problems for any team. Man, the playoff series between Boston and Milwaukee is going to be fun. – king
Why Boston was open to dealing Williams
The simple answer: The Celtics only had a chance to get an offseason with Williams on the table. But he will lose big. As good as Holiday was defensively, Boston sacrificed a lot of size and shot blocking in this trade. The team will still be able to use big double lineups with Porzinis and Horford, but it won’t be able to use those looks as frequently with Williams in Portland.
This trade would likely lead to a bigger role for Luke Kornet as well. He was solid last season, but he wouldn’t have seen many minutes if the Celtics had kept Williams. It’s not clear yet who coach Joe Mazzola will start, but it could be small with White and Holiday in the backcourt or big with Horford and Porzinis in the frontcourt. – king
Jrue Holiday Trade Grades: Boston’s rotation hits big; Is this worth it?
Why did the Blazers immediately trade Holiday
The Blazers are committed to youngsters Scott Henderson and Anfernee Simmons at point guard and want to give them extended minutes to grow and mature at the position, so it didn’t make sense to hold on to Holiday. The same logic will likely be used with Brogdon. – fast
What is the value here for Portland?
Portland addressed two critical areas in its remake of the roster: defense and big man depth. Williams is a former All-NBA Defensive Team member who finished second in the NBA in blocks per game in the 2021-22 season. There are some injury concerns for Williams — he had surgery on his left knee in March and September of 2022 — and he only played 35 games last season.
But he’s still young — he turns 26 in two weeks — and he and Ayton, the starting lineup’s two centers, both play above the rim offensively, a stark contrast to former midfielder Nurkic. – fast
Holiday, 33, spent the past three seasons in Milwaukee and was a member of the 2021 championship team. Last season, he averaged 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 67 games.
The Celtics emerged as a potential landing spot for the Holidays after trading Lillard. The blockbuster deal came as a surprise because Lillard requested a trade on July 1 and declared the Miami Heat as his preferred destination. However, Miami and Portland were reportedly never involved in substantive negotiations, and as the summer progressed, the Blazers began having serious talks with other teams.
Now that the dust has settled on the incredible deal, the Celtics have acquired Holiday, a two-time All-Star. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted him in the first round in 2009. Holiday then headed to the New Orleans Pelicans for seven seasons following a 2013 trade from Philly.
(Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today)
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