The Milwaukee Bucks rocked the sports world this week by pulling off a blockbuster trade for Damian Lillard, establishing themselves as championship favorites for the upcoming NBA season in the process.
Not to be outdone, the Boston Celtics quickly responded on Sunday by pulling off a blockbuster trade of their own on Sunday, acquiring Jrue Holiday from the Portland Trail Blazers just days after the Bucks sent him there.
Celtics Jrue Holiday Trade
In return for Holiday, the Celtics sent point guard Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III and two draft picks to the Trail Blazers.
While that sounds like a lot, this is exactly the move that Boston needed to keep up in the Eastern Conference after the Lillard trade. Holiday represents a massive upgrade over Brogdon and Marcus Smart, who was traded for Kristaps Porzingis earlier in the offseason.
General manager Brad Stevens has now assembled a starting five of Holiday, Porzingis, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White, which certainly looks like a championship-caliber lineup on paper. Boston is now tied with Milwaukee for the best odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the 2023-24 NBA Finals.
This is just the latest in a series of savvy moves by Stevens, who has done an excellent job turning the Celtics into title contenders since moving up from head coach to GM after the 2020-21 season. Since then, he’s made deals like reacquiring Al Horford, bringing in White and Brogdon, extending Brown, trading for Porzingis and now this.
Few NBA executives are better than Stevens at identifying their teams’ needs and addressing them. Boston made it to the NBA Finals in his first season at the helm and probably would have returned if Tatum hadn’t injured his ankle during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring.
Holiday is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Not only is he an NBA champ, but he’s also a two-time All-Star and has made five straight All-Defensive teams. The 33-year-old is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his career as well after averaging 19.3 points, 7.4 assists and a personal-best 5.1 rebounds per game.
With Holiday joining Tatum and Brown on the perimeter, one of the best offenses in the NBA just got better thanks to their genius GM. Don’t be surprised if this is the move that finally puts the Celtics over the top and helps them win their first championship since 2008.
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