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Surprise NBA team was in on Jrue Holiday before blockbuster trade to the Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics pulled off a major blockbuster trade ahead of training camp, adding star guard Jrue Holiday in a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Boston had not necessarily been bandied about a whole lot as a potential landing spot after Holiday was sent from the Milwaukee Bucks to Portland in the Damian Lillard blockbuster last month.

However, front office head Brad Stevens was able to add his second star of the offseason to go with franchise cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Early in the summer, these Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis in a trade with the Washington Wizards.

So, how close was this deal to not going through? According to ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe, several teams were in on the 33-year-old two-time All-Star. That includes a surprising Utah Jazz squad.

Lowe notes that Utah might not have been Holiday’s first choice given that the team is still technically in rebuild mode despite a surprising 2022-23 season.

This did not deter former Celtics front office head Danny Ainge and the Jazz from being in on Holiday. They were simply outbid by Boston. The Celtics ended up yielding guard Malcolm Brogdon, young big man Robert Williams and two first-round picks in order to acquire Holiday.

Related: Jrue Holiday and the NBA’s top-50 players of 2023-24

Jrue Holiday stats (2022-23): 19.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 48% shooting, 38% 3-point

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks
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In addition to being a five-time All-NBA Defensive Team performer, Holiday is a marked upgrade on offense from both Brogdon and Marcus Smart at point guard. He adds another dimension for Boston on both ends of the court.

As for the Utah Jazz, they traded franchise stalwarts Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert ahead of the 2022-23 season. For most, this led to the belief that Ainge and Co. were going into a full-scale rebuild.

Instead, the Jazz surprised skeptics by remaining in the NBA Playoff race for a majority of the season. Utah found itself at 19-19 at about the midway point of the campaign before finishing 37-45.

Right now, the Jazz will rely on Collin Sexton and Kris Dunn holding down the fort at the point. Adding Holiday would have given this team an upgrade after it acquired star forward John Collins from the Atlanta Hawks for pennies on the dollar during the summer. Alas, it was not to be.

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