Brad Stevens, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, made his first public comments Sunday on the blockbuster trade that sent guard Jrue Holiday to Boston. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was first to report the trade.
"We are excited to see Jrue in a Celtics uniform," Stevens said following the trade that sent Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, and two first round picks to the Portland Trail Blazers. "He plays the game with a great competitive character and his impact on and off the court has been felt everywhere throughout his career."
Holiday, a two-time NBA All-Star and five-time selectee to the NBA All-Defensive Team, will step into this Boston roster with an opportunity to take on a leadership role. Holiday has one claim that the rest of the Celtics' roster has fought so hard for - he's an NBA champion.
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Holiday has a strong reputation as a leader: He won the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award in three of the past four seasons. Holiday also won the 2020-21 NBA Sportsmanship Award and the 2023 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian ESPY Award and along with his wife, Lauren -- a former member of the U.S. women's national soccer team -- perfectly into the culture that Boston has been proud to build.
With the loss of Marcus Smart in a trade to the Memphis Grizzlies, Holiday will be expected to fill that defensive role, while also making more of a contribution offensively. This shouldn't be an issue for Holiday, who averaged 19.3 points on 47.9 percent shooting last season to go along with 7.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
Another key mention of Holiday's game, especially considering the rest of Boston's lineup, is his availability. Already 33 years old, Holiday has managed to play in 67 games in his past two seasons.
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The Celtics gave up a lot of assets for Holiday, which is something that sent social media into a craze.
Williams showed flashes of excellence during his tenure in Boston as an elite shot blocker and rebounder. The downfall of Williams' ability, however, was his availability, or lack thereof. Regardless, Boston will definitely miss his presence on the court.
"It’s been our pleasure to have a front row seat to Rob’s career since he joined us on draft night 2018," Stevens said on the big man, "He has grown into a wonderful basketball player and teammate."
Celtics insider Chris Forsberg spoke with Williams just hours before the trade went through -- he was extremely excited for the upcoming year in Boston.
The Celtics also sent Brogdon to Portland in the trade. Last season, Brogdon brought the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award home, averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Despite Brogdon's reported unhappiness with the Celtics this offseason, Stevens noted the impact Brogdon had, stating, "Malcolm had a great season last year culminating in the tremendous honor of receiving the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award."
We will get our first look at the new-look Celtics team, featuring newcomers Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, this Monday, Oct. 2, at Celtics Media Day.