The NBA’s version of the hot stove season has kicked off in a big way. Less than 24 hours since the NBA allowed teams to make trades official, some major blockbusters have gone down. That now includes a Jrue Holiday trade from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The details of said blockbuster are absolutely eye-opening. Milwaukee has dealt away guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill as well as three future first-round picks and two future first-round pick swaps.
That is not a typo. The Bucks dealt away three first-round picks for a 30-year-old guard entering his contract season. Obviously, this is Milwaukee’s way of enticing two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to stay long-term. He joins Holiday in free agency following the 2020-21 season. That’s where we start in giving you winners and losers from this blockbuster trade.
Jrue Holiday trade winner: Giannis Antetokounmpo (duh)
The Greek Freak has been subjected to trade rumors ever since his Bucks were prematurely disposed of in the 2020 NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat. The idea is that Antetokounmpo wants to play in a larger market in order to increase his presence off the court.
By trading for Holiday, the Bucks have made it clear they are looking to build a contender around Giannis. The underrated guard averaged 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists on 46% shooting from the field for New Orleans last season. He’s an obvious upgrade over Bledsoe.
On a separate note, the Bucks also acquired wing Bogdan Bogdanović from the Sacramento Kings in a sign-and-trade deal that sends Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson to California’s capital city.
The Bucks are all in on Giannis. Whether that’s a winning plan moving forward remains to be seen.
Related: NBA Draft trade rumors
Jrue Holiday trade loser: Bucks show desperation
Milwaukee would not have made this trade if it envisioned Antetokounmpo demanding a trade ahead of the 2020-21 season. That had been speculated after the Greek Freak met with the Bucks’ brass following their second-round playoff departure.
Despite this, Bucks general manager Jon Horst is throwing all the team’s future draft pick capital out the window in an attempt to go all in during the 2020-21 season.
Even if Milwaukee were to win the NBA title, there’s no guarantee that Antetokounmpo will return in 2021-22. If the team struggles in the playoffs once again, the Greek Freak and Mr. Holiday will likely be calling new NBA cities home once free agency starts.
The backdrop here is the reality that Milwaukee traded three first-round picks and will have to swap first-rounders with New Orleans two other times moving forward. Imagine if the Greek Freak leaves. How valuable are these picks going to be? It’s a major gamble. It also showed desperation. We’ll see if it pays off.
Jrue Holiday trade winner: Pelicans front office head David Griffin
This former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager has now turned Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday into All-Star Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, six first-round picks and two picks swaps. That’s actually a thing.
New Orleans will now move forward with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram as the faces of the franchise. It has Ball to man the point and a ridiculous number of both draft picks and young players to potentially lure a star in a trade moving forward. Griffin is a big winner here.
Jrue Holiday trade loser: Teams looking to buy this offseason
If the Pelicans were able to land this package for a 30-year-old guard entering a contract year, bigger-name players will more than likely net an absurd amount in return. Heck, the Portland Trail Blazers traded two first-round picks to Houston for Robert Covington earlier on Monday.
This means anyone looking to trade for James Harden better be prepared to offer something ridiculous to the Rockets. It means that other teams attempting to pull off blockbuster trades will have sellers bring up the Holiday trade. That makes those contenders losers in the grand scheme of things.