Superstar guard Damian Lillard is finally on the move. But will another blockbuster trade be in the future?
The Portland Trail Blazers sent Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks and acquired Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Doumani Kamara and draft picks as part of a three-team trade on Wednesday.
The Warriors were never in the mix to land Lillard. In fact, the superstar recently said he’d rather miss every season than join Golden State. But still Brian Windhorst of ESPN Another All-Star involved in the trade and speculated to be on the move soon is Holiday, a five-time NBA All-Defensive Team honoree.
“Even the Warriors, who have interesting young players on their roster, could join the race with some long-shot draft picks and transfers when Stephen Curry retires. [to trade for Holiday],” Windhorst wrote. “They would be willing to trade Chris Paul again, and members of the organization have praised him for his offseason work trying to cooperate.
“Curry’s never had a backcourt teammate like Paul, but he’s never had a teammate with Holliday’s talent, and he’s five years younger.”
This is an interesting thought. Holiday could turn a playoff series into one of the league’s best backcourt defenders. Curry’s tenacity combined with the best shooter in the game would make for a terrific one-two backcourt punch.
But to make the trade, the Warriors would have to move a lucrative contract like Ball’s, who is due $30.8 million this season and has a non-guaranteed $30 million on the books next year. They also hope to re-sign Klay Thompson to a long-term deal as he enters a contract year. Adding the vacation would only add to the league-high luxury tax the company has faced in recent years.
Holiday has one year left on his contract and can decline a player option for 2024-25. A contending team won’t trade for him unless they believe he’ll sign a long-term deal, but Wednesday’s trade left him unable to sign an extension until the end of March.
However, it’s not just Golden State that Windhorst is speculating about. He listed the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings as teams that could find a way to trade up for the holidays.
Trailblazers are being rebuilt. Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. may pick up the phone if they start looking for a trade partner for the 33-year-old Holiday.