The Toronto Raptors tried everything they could to make sure that Damian Lillard would be enticed enough to leave the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Milwaukee Bucks managed to beat them to the punch at the eleventh hour with a package centered around Jrue Holiday.
With Portland kicking off a proper rebuild around Scoot Henderson and Holiday’s status as an All-Star veteran in search of more championship rings, the odds of the Blazers holding on to Holiday in what is becoming a very crowded backcourt seem to be infinitesimal.
The Raptors may not have landed Lillard, but Holiday is a point guard who was almost born to play under Masai Ujiri. Unfortunately, rather than pursuing a win-now mindset at all costs, Ujiri seems willing to let contenders and rivals from across the league get chances to scoop him up.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet, who reported that Toronto hasn’t pursued an extension for Pascal Siakam, said that it would be very difficult to envision a world in which the Raptors end up making a trade for Holiday. Any hopes of one more big move before the season have been expertly dashed.
NBA rumors: Toronto Raptors not trading for Jrue Holiday.
Holiday is fresh off an All-Star season and All-Defensive nomination in which it could be reasonably argued that he was a better No. 2 option for Milwaukee than Khris Middleton was. Portland knows they can get a haul in exchange for the respected two-way veteran.
Holiday has one year left on his deal with a $37 million player option he could pick up due to his age. Such a move could help Toronto bring in a traditional point guard with a higher floor and ceiling than Dennis Schroder while avoiding the nightmare scenario of losing free agents for nothing.
The Raptors would be naive to think that many of their biggest rivals would let a chance to acquire a player like Holiday fall by the wayside. The New York Knicks are reportedly starting to gauge interest in a Holiday trade, as are Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics.
As long as Masai Ujiri refuses to trade away some of his more established stars, this team should be treated like a squad that is trying to win games. If that’s where this team is at, the idea of them dismissing a move for Holiday out of hand needs to be scrutinized.