Jrue Holiday started his work for the Celtics right away. Pretty much as soon as he could. Holiday, 33, has been on the Bucks radar for a while. Though, before acquiring him in a trade Brad Stevens didn’t envision a scenario where he’d be available.
“There’s a list of guys in the league that you always think you’ll never have a real chance to get. That you think are perfect fits, that you’d love to be a Celtic,” Stevens said during Celtics media day Monday. “Jrue is one of those guys.”
The price of the acquisition was high but in order to get assets, you have to give assets. Those assets that Boston gave up included Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III and a pair of first-round picks, including the Golden State Warriors’ selection in 2024.
“You got to pay a good price for things, right? That’s the way it goes,” Stevens said. “We’re trying to win a championship. We’re trying to be as good as we can be. We certainty did (pay a big price) — two picks, two good players. That is a real price. But that’s how good we think Jrue is.”
The task of winning the championship will be tough. The Eastern Conference is crowded with talent and several teams out west have the same goal. According to Fan Duel Sportsbook, the Celtics (+380), Milwaukee Bucks (+380), Denver Nuggets (+550) and Phoenix Suns (+550) have the highest odds.
The acquisition gives the Celtics one of the most formidable starting lineups, featuring three All-Stars from last season, including Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and the Celtics other big acquisition, Kristaps Porzingis.
Holiday averaged 19.3 points and 7.4 assists last season while he shot 47.9% from the field and 38.4% from long range. He also has been an All-Defense honoree five times in his career.
“I mean, everybody can see what he does on the court. He’s a really good player, multiple time All-Star, defense has been well-documented, etc.” Stevens said. “But I think it’s the, he’s an elite teammate, elite competitive character. All of those things.”
Dealing Robert Williams may hurt the Celtics depth at the center position. Some shifts may be made as the preseason progresses. There’s no debate though that Jrue Holiday will be in the Celtics starting lineup.
“I want to be as open-minded I can, knowing we have a lot of flexibility in the backcourt and the frontcourt,” said coach Joe Mazzulla, noting he hadn’t made any decisions of how his lineup would look like on opening night in New York in four weeks.
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