What promises to be a wild NBA offseason has just gotten underway, and another big name is already on the move.
The Milwaukee Bucks were finalizing a deal to acquire guard Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans, according to multiple reports Monday night. ESPN and The Athletic reported the Pelicans will receive guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, plus three future first-round picks in return.
The deal comes at the beginning of a critical offseason for the Bucks, who have had the best record in the league each of the past two years but have failed to reach the NBA Finals. Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is eligible to sign a super-max contract extension before the upcoming season, and the franchise has made it a top priority to surround its superstar with the talent to convince him to stay in Milwaukee long-term.
If Antetokounmpo declines to sign an extension, he would become a free agent in the summer of 2021, when he would undoubtedly be the top prize on the market.
Holiday, 30, averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 61 games for the Pelicans last season. One of the best perimeter defenders in the league, Holiday is a two-time All-Defensive team selection. He is under contract for this coming season at $25.4 million and has a player option for 2021-22 at $26.3 million.
Bledsoe, 30, has averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals in two-plus seasons with the Bucks since being acquired from the Phoenix Suns in November of 2017. However, he has struggled to carry that success over to the postseason the last three years and his production has fallen off precipitously.
Hill, 34, has been a key role player throughout his 12-year career, including the last two with Milwaukee. This past season, he averaged 9.4 points per game and led the NBA in 3-point shooting at 46%.
New Orleans adds to its stockpile of assets with the trade. A year after dealing Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a haul of young players and picks, the Pelicans have an even stronger foundation upon which to rebuild.