Celtics Media Day

Stevens explains how Celtics were well-prepared for Holiday trade

Stevens provided some interesting background on the Holiday trade during Celtics Media Day.

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The Boston Celtics made another huge splash in the NBA trade market over the weekend by acquiring Jrue Holiday from the Portland Trail Blazers.

The price to get him was steep. The Celtics sent the Blazers point guard Malcolm Brogdon, center Robert Williams III, the Golden State Warriors' 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected) and an unprotected 2029 first-rounder.

Holiday became available because the Milwaukee Bucks traded him to the Blazers as part of the package to acquire superstar point guard Damian Lillard. The Blazers, as a rebuilding team, were unlikely to keep the 33-year-old Holiday for very long.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens told NBC Sports Boston at Celtics Media Day on Monday that his team was prepared for the possibility of Holiday being available based on the work it had done in the weeks and months prior.

"I've known (Blazers GM) Joe Cronin for a long time. We've talked several times over the last few years and have had real transparent conversations about what we think of each other's teams and know what guys are like," Stevens said, as seen in the video player above.

"When it became more of a question of where Dame might go, I think you started to think about who would end up going to Portland that they may not keep as part of their group. When you start doing the math on the money around the league, you can limit it to 10-15 guys. We were having those discussions in case something came up. We didn't know how it would all shake out."

Stevens has been a fan of Holiday for a long time and wanted him in Boston when he was the head coach.

"I've tried to get Jrue Holiday on the Celtics since I've been the coach," Stevens said. "I know I would go into Danny (Ainge)'s office every year and be like, 'Hey, can we get Jrue Holiday somehow?'

"So when that (Lillard trade) hit, the whole office walks in and says, 'Is there a way to get Jrue Holiday here?' And then we start working on it. And it's hard because there are a lot of good teams with good assets and great players. You may get him, you may not."

The Celtics did end up getting him, and now they have arguably the best starting five in the league with Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis.

Holiday is an elite defender, but he also averaged 19.3 points per game and shot 38.4 percent from 3-point range last season. His two-way ability on the court and high character off it should make him an excellent fit in Boston.

Check out more of NBC Sports Boston's Media Day coverage here or watch on YouTube below.

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