Sixers to pursue Jrue Holiday after missing out on Damian Lillard

Holiday sixers
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) passes the ball behind his back against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 2, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

With the Damian Lillard trade now in the NBA’s rearview, could the Sixers turn their attention to the now-Blazers guard, Jrue Holiday?

At long last, one of the two major dominos of the offseason has finally fallen as the Portland Trail Blazers have traded Damian Lillard. No, it wasn’t the oft-rumored Miami Heat who secured the seven-time All-Star; it was another Eastern Conference contender, the Milwaukee Bucks. With this blockbuster deal now complete, what will the Sixers do to compete in the East, and could they reunite with an old friend?

While Portland was most concerned with acquiring draft picks and former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, the acquisition of Holiday adds an interesting wrinkle to the equation. Immediately after news broke of the details of the trade, it was reported that the Blazers would likely be looking for a new home for the two-way guard. Several suitors have already been identified, including the Philadelphia 76ers, as reported by PHLY Sports’ Kyle Neubeck.

The complication is that as a secondary deal for Holiday was not mentioned at the time of the initial news breaking, it likely will be more difficult for a team, especially the Sixers, to acquire the former NBA champion due to the league’s restrictions on recently traded players which state that players can only be re-traded without a waiting period if their salary is not combined with another player’s salary; otherwise, sixty days from the initial trade must first pass.

Would Holiday fit with the Sixers?

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, right, drives to the basket against Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

The short answer is that Jrue Holiday would fit on just about every single team in the NBA. Looking at a particular fit with the Sixers, there are several areas in which Holiday could shine in Philadelphia. A clear need for a stronger perimeter defender and a perimeter creator to likely replace James Harden is easily identified when looking at potential areas of improvement for the 76ers.

Holiday could easily slot into a lineup alongside Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and whoever else is still around come the start of the season. Be that Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, or even a player not even on the current roster, there are few bad fits around Holiday.

How could the Sixers acquire Jrue Holiday?

Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden, right, tries to get past Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The immediate temptation is to connect a possible Jrue Holiday trade to James Harden’s trade demand earlier this offseason. The issue that presents itself is the aforementioned re-trade requirements by the NBA, considering the Blazers are unlikely to be interested in Harden. Perhaps the Sixers could find a way to make a deal involving Harden, but trading Tobias Harris would be an easier road to travel, though whether or not they prefer to do so remains to be seen.

Despite Holiday’s new-found availability, the next item on the Sixers’ to-do list remains sorting out a resolution to their James Harden situation. The idea of the team killing two birds with one stone is certainly enticing, as is a potential Holiday pursuit regardless of a James Harden trade. The Sixers will, however, have to compete with several other contenders for his services.

More updates will come as the news breaks. Stay tuned to Philly Sports Network for the latest on the Sixers’ offseason!