Jrue Holiday is the best player that could potentially be moved ahead of Thursday's deadline, but the New Orleans Pelicans have no reason to sell low on their star combo guard. Holiday is under contract next season and has a player option for the 2021-22 campaign. By all accounts, he is happy in New Orleans and not seeking a trade. Fortunately for him, it does not appear as though one is imminent. The Pelicans haven't received an overwhelming offer for Holiday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and if they don't get one, New Orleans is reportedly happy to keep him beyond the deadline.
The two teams most often linked to Holiday -- the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets -- both have the assets to complete a deal if they want to. If Denver put Michael Porter Jr. on the table, or if Miami did so with Tyler Herro, a trade would likely come together very quickly. For the moment, though, neither seems eager to part with their cheap young talent for a well-paid veteran with some injury issues.
With those premium assets likely off of the table, it is up to New Orleans to decide whether a lesser offer is worth giving up a player as immediately valuable as Holiday, who will make more than $26.1 million next year, and has a team option just above $27 million for 2021-22.
Denver could provide a reasonable replacement in Gary Harris, has plenty of expiring salary in players like Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee if the Pelicans want to offload some extra money. The Nuggets also to add to their own moving forward, so a package built around Harris and picks is feasible. Miami owes Oklahoma City two first-round picks, so it doesn't have quite as much draft capital as Denver, but the Heat make up for it with their deep stable of young talent. An offer would almost certainly include some combination of their expiring contracts (Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard) and their lesser young players (Justise Winslow, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Derrick Jones Jr.).
While such an offer might appeal to some teams, New Orleans is uniquely positioned to be patient if that is all that is on the table thanks to its moves last summer. The Pelicans acquired three players on rookie contracts from the Lakers in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, made three first-round picks of their own in Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Walker-Alexander, and have two future Lakers picks incoming, thanks to the Anthony Davis trade. Depth is not an issue for the Pelicans. If anything, they have too many talented young players as is. Finding enough minutes for several more of them, considering the veterans already in place, would pose an enormous challenge to Alvin Gentry. Turning Holiday into one extremely valuable asset makes far more sense than flipping him for three or four underwhelming pieces.
Both the Nuggets and the Heat have that singular asset, but are reluctant to move it for obvious reasons. Denver is 35-14 and the Miami is only a game behind. They are in good shape as is, and thanks to their existing pool of young players, both have quite a bit of flexibility moving forward. Cashing in such chips for Holiday now makes sense only if either believes his presence immediately puts them in position to win a championship. It doesn't appear that either feels so strongly about Holiday, so a potential deal is in a holding pattern. Either one side will relent, or Holiday will remain with the Pelicans moving forward.