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    Sixers continue pursuing Jrue Holiday in 'very competitive' market

    Kyle Neubeck Avatar
    September 29, 2023
    Jrue Holiday preparing to shoot the basketball.

    The Sixers continue to pursue veteran guard Jrue Holiday in talks with the Portland Trailblazers, sources told PHLY Sports on Friday, but their ability to secure his services was viewed as increasingly unlikely based on how the market is unfolding heading into the weekend.

    A big piece of that doubt is connected to the status of James Harden, who has noted his disinterest in suiting up for a team run by Daryl Morey several times this offseason.

    The Sixers have attempted to engage the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers in talks on a potential three-way trade that would send Harden to the Clippers and Holiday to Philadelphia. Still, a source told PHLY Sports that those talks did not have much traction as of Friday afternoon. Philadelphia had previously held discussions with the Clippers on deals for Harden this summer, though both sides backed away from the table in mid-August.

    Reports have suggested Harden will skip Philadelphia’s media day this coming Monday, though his status for the team’s training camp in Colorado is unclear as of this writing.

    With a multi-team Harden deal looking unlikely right now, a direct Sixers/Blazers swap would appear even more unlikely. The Sixers continue to insist that young guard Tyrese Maxey is unavailable in trade talks, sources say, a position they’ve held throughout trade calls with teams over the past couple of seasons.

    Without including Maxey, the Sixers would be faced with an uphill battle as the Blazers consider offers from a number of teams around the league, with the Celtics and Clippers among the frontrunners for Holiday’s services. One source described trade talks as “very competitive” with a handful of contenders and even fringe playoff teams looking to get in the mix.

    Holiday’s availability was a surprise to most teams around the league in the wake of the Damian Lillard trade, with his involvement in those talks kept a secret by the Bucks and Blazers up until the moment he was sent to Portland. Though Holiday’s performance in Milwaukee’s round one loss to the Heat was a disappointment, he is coming off one of his best-ever seasons, which resulted in his first All-Star appearance since he made the team as a 22-year-old with the Sixers. Holiday shot 38.4 percent from deep on over six attempts per game last season, posting averages of 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists as Giannis Antetokounmpo’s sidekick.

    There is one small bit of complication now that the Lillard trade has been made official — Holiday can’t be combined with other players in an outgoing trade from Portland for the next two months due to NBA trade rules. However, he is eligible to be traded immediately as long as he is sent out alone in exchange for whatever incoming salaries fit trade-matching parameters. His $36.8 million salary makes it easy to move him alone for most players around the league, so this isn’t expected to be an issue that delays talks.

    The Blazers are said to be hoping to secure multiple first-round picks in exchange for Holiday, or a combination of draft assets and ascending talent that fits their new post-Lillard timeline. The Athletic‘s Jared Weiss reported on the Blazers’ asking price on Friday morning.

    Holiday is a player of great interest to the Sixers, who regard him highly for his two-way capability on the floor and his character off of the court. A reunion with a player they drafted in 2009 is still something the organization continues to pursue, but it would seem to require a material change for it to happen, be that a breakthrough in talks with the Clippers or another major development.

    This story is developing…

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