Report: Bucks trading big package for Jrue Holiday, acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic from Kings

Jason Owens
·3-min read

The New Orleans Pelicans are trading point guard Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski report.

The Bucks are sending Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and a draft haul consisting of three first-round picks and two future draft swaps in return in a deal reportedly reached Monday evening.

The Bucks reportedly swung another deal later Monday, sending Donte Divincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson to the Sacramento Kings for shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, Wojnarowski reports.

Bucks upgrade backcourt around Giannis

The Pelicans have reportedly been shopping Holiday, but preferred to avoid dealing him to a Western Conference rival. Instead, he’ll join Giannis Antetokounmpo on the East’s top contender.

Holiday, 30, averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds for New Orleans last season. He’s a strong defender and a capable 3-point shooter. He’s an immediate upgrade in Milwaukee’s backcourt.

Bogdanovic, 28, averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Kings last season. A 37.2 3-point shooter, he adds another long-distance threat that will allow the Bucks to continue to stretch the floor around Antetokounmpo.

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Pelicans get big boost for youth movement

Holiday played seven seasons in New Orleans and was reportedly well-liked in addition to being one of the team’s best players.

But he’s 30 years old, and the Pelicans are building around a young core of 20-year-old Zion Williamson and 23-year-old Brandon Ingram, who emerged as an All-Star last season after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pelicans aren’t expected to contend next season in a stacked Western Conference. The draft-pick haul will allow New Orleans to continue to add young pieces around its core. It’s a similar package to the picks and players the Pelicans received in return for Anthony Davis last offseason.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday in the first half of an NBA game on Dec. 25, 2019 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Why did the Bucks give up so much for Holiday?

Holiday is also a remnant of the Anthony Davis era and a player ready to contribute to a team looking to win now. That’s presumably why the Bucks made the deal and were willing to part with such a significant package.

After a second straight disappointing playoff exit short of the NBA Finals, the Bucks are desperate to build a core that can contend around Antetokounmpo as he approaches the final season of a four-year, $100 million contract. He has the option of signing a supermax extension with the Bucks this offseason or during the season, but told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet last week that his decision depends on how the Bucks build around him.

“I do not know what the plan is,” Antetokounmpo said. “It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I’ll be there for many years. If they do not, we’ll see. The NBA is business, and we take it day-by-day. Hopefully, we can succeed together.”

The Bucks posted the NBA’s best record last season but suffered a stunning second-round playoff exit to the Miami Heat. A two-time NBA MVP at 25 years old, Antetokounmpo is a risk to leave for a franchise he believes is more capable of building a winner — perhaps that same Heat team.

Milwaukee is going all-in to convince him otherwise.

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