PHOENIX SUNS

Blazers trade Jrue Holiday to Celtics, making them title odds favorites

Oct 1, 2023, 1:09 PM

Bucks PG Jrue Holiday drives on Deandre Ayton of the Suns...

Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) drives past Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. The Suns won 131-107. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Jrue Holiday was out of the Eastern Conference for just a few days, and now it’s the Boston Celtics who will hope that the Olympic gold medalist and NBA champion can help deliver them another title banner.

The Celtics finalized a deal with Portland on Sunday to land Holiday, who was sent to the Trail Blazers last week by Milwaukee in the trade that sent seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard to the Bucks.

Following that deal, the Bucks jumped ahead as title favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Now, Boston sits tied with Milwaukee with +380 odds, just ahead of the Phoenix Suns at +550 and Denver Nuggets at +600.

Boston gave up two key pieces — point guard Malcolm Brogdon and forward Robert Williams — and Portland also gets two future first-round picks, said a person with knowledge of the trade who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending league approval.

ESPN first reported the trade agreement.

Holiday moves into the starting point guard spot in Boston that had been held in recent seasons by Marcus Smart, who was sent to Memphis during the offseason in a three-team trade (also including Washington) that brought Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics.

Smart is a dogged defender. And Holiday is the same. He’s a five-time All-Defensive selection — a first-teamer on that team last season — who has appeared on defensive player of the year ballots in each of the last three years.

The 33-year-old Holiday was also an All-Star last year for the first time in a decade and is coming off a season in which he averaged 19.3 points and 7.4 assists, both better than his career averages of 16.4 points and 6.5 assists.

Flipping Holiday for Brogdon, Williams and more draft capital means the Trail Blazers have now turned Lillard into four players (with Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara also included as part of Wednesday’s deal), three first-round picks and two pick swaps. That’s a strong haul for Lillard, who was officially welcomed to Milwaukee by his new team on Saturday.

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