Zach LaVine

Why Bulls landing Jrue Holiday via trade is longshot

Lack of draft capital, confidence in current guards are biggest obstacles to deal with Portland

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Jrue Holiday could be on the move again before the NBA season starts.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Let's get the obvious out of the way first: Jrue Holiday makes any NBA team that he's on better, and the Chicago Bulls would be no exception.

In some ways, one can envision the two-time All-Star guard and two-way threat sliding into the role previously held by Lonzo Ball. Someone who can create defensive havoc on the perimeter, hit open shots to help space the floor as a career 36.6 percent 3-point shooter and serve as a respected connecting piece for the core of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

The Milwaukee Bucks don't win the 2021 NBA title without Holiday, who now is likely to be traded by the Portland Trail Blazers after they acquired him in the Damian Lillard trade. Players around the league know: Holiday is one of the most underrated, winning players around.

Now let's get to the reality: It's a longshot.

The Bulls spent their offseason preaching continuity and team bonding while adding Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig to their core and like their roster as they prepare to enter training camp next week. Even if the Bulls wanted to add Holiday, and there are no signs that they've entered the sweepstakes, it's hard to find the most enticing avenue to do so.

Holiday is due to make $34.9 million this season and owns a player option of $37.3 million for next season. The Bulls, who are hard capped at $172.3 million, would have to send out around $35 million of salary in a trade.

Multiple outlets, including NBC Sports Chicago, have reported that the Trail Blazers never showed much interest in acquiring LaVine. (As an aside, making a bold move to acquire Holiday truly only makes sense if LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic remain in a win-now mode.) So that's likely a non-starter.

The same logic of only adding Holiday if LaVine is around applies to DeRozan, who would have to have players added to him to even make the financials of a deal work. And remember: Since Carter and players like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu signed this offseason, they're not yet eligible to be traded until into the season.

So the Bulls would have to build a package likely centered around Ball's $20 million deal, a piece like Patrick Williams or Alex Caruso or possibly both and possibly two first-round picks. Ball is expected to miss the entire 2023-24 season following his third knee surgery and has a player option that he surely will exercise for 2024-25.

The Bulls could conceivably give back the first-round pick the Trail Blazers owe them from the Lauri Markkanen three-team trade. But other teams will be building packages likely with more attractive draft capital.

Indeed, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers are among the bidders for Holiday.

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