The Phoenix Suns have not had a starting-caliber point guard since Eric Bledsoe’s reps couldn’t secure an extension two years ago.
The most imperative target this summer must be to install a veteran starter next to Booker going into next season, as well as having a veteran on the bench for injury insurance (which could even be Tyler Johnson, for example).
On the high end of the potential point guard targets are free agents Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, who are likely to make more than $30 million each, possibly up to $35 million. The Suns could conceivably create that much space by waive-stretching Tyler Johnson and releasing cap holds on Richaun Holmes and Kelly Oubre Jr., but those guys are unlikely to choose the Suns over flashier or winnier destinations.
And why commit four-plus years to a point guard who doesn’t cover for Booker’s deficiencies on defense? Portland made the conference finals with a back court of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, both undersized offense-first guards, so the Suns could become winners but Portland definitely has a ceiling on their future with so much money tied up in a back court that only plays one end of the floor.
A better target would be a point guard who can run an offense on one end without being the center of all attention, and then on the other end be one of the best defenders in the league.
Enter Jrue Holiday.
Holiday is a two-time All-NBA Defensive team member — first team a year ago, second-team this year — which places him squarely among the top guard defenders in the entire league, along with Robert Covington, Victor Oladipo, Marcus Smart, Eric Bledsoe, DeJounte Murray, Andre Roberson, Chris Paul, Patrick Beverley and others who have made the all-defense teams in the past few years. The only active guard with more than one season on All-Defense includes Butler, Paul, Beverley, Avery Bradley and Holiday.
On the other end of the floor, only Butler and Paul put up the kind of offensive numbers to balance their defensive game like Holiday.
In six years in New Orleans, Holiday has posted 17.4 points and 6.9 assists per game, with passable three point shooting (34%), while helping Anthony Davis become one of the greatest forces in the league.
Contractually, Holiday is safely under contract for three more seasons at $26, $26 and $27 million through the 2021-22 season. The last season is a player option, at which time Holiday will be 30 years old — just young enough to get one more big, long deal before he fades out.
Now that New Orleans is set to replace AD with rookie sensation Zion Williamson (there’s almost no way Davis stays in the bayou), the Pelicans MIGHT be looking to start a short rebuild that doesn’t include a 28-year old Jrue Holiday because they probably won’t make the playoffs before his contract runs out.
I am currently starting the pre-draft trade talks with other blog managers throughout the league, in prep for our annual Blogger Mock Draft early next month. We are all talking about potential trades that could involve our first round pick.
So let’s play the trade game with the Suns No. 6 overall pick.
Today, we discuss potential trade packages with Jrue Holiday.
As it stands, players like Tyler Johnson and T.J. Warren are available for salary matching, but a rebuilding team like the Pelicans would really want a young player or two to pair with Zion Williamson and the No. 6 pick (Darius Garland? Coby White?) to kick start their rebuild in hearty fashion.
Let’s not argue the salary matching stuff, but suffice it to say that if the Suns acquire a veteran point guard via trade, they will NOT have to sacrifice the chance to bring back Kelly Oubre Jr.
Would you trade the No. 6 pick AND a Mikal Bridges to bring back Jrue Holiday?
There’s no way the Pelicans would value Josh Jackson on any level other than “another body”, and there’s no way the Suns could include Oubre.
So, the only remaining young wing with value is Bridges.
- Pelicans get No. 6, Bridges ($4.1 million), Johnson ($19.2 million expiring), Warren ($10.75 per year, 4 years)
- Suns get Jrue Holiday ($26 million), E’Twaun Moore ($8.6 million expiring)
Post trade, the Suns lineup would be:
- Holiday, Melton, Okobo
- Booker, Moore
- Oubre, Jackson
- PF to be named*
- Deandre Ayton, Holmes?
*Suns would still have $12 million to spend in free agency on a power forward before re-signing Oubre and possibly Holmes to contracts higher than their cap holds.
Holiday and Booker would be one of the best back courts in the game, but the Suns would still have holes at the forward positions.
I could even see one or both of Holiday and Booker in the next few All-Star games. Holiday made the East All-Stars once, and was one of the “just outside” list on the West potential roster the past two years since returning from injuries.
Tell me your thoughts on this, Suns fans!
Should the Suns trade Bridges, pick for Jrue Holiday, like the scenario above?
This poll is closed