The Celtics have acquired two All-Star-caliber players this offseason, and they apparently see an extended future for both in Boston.
The Celtics are "are expected to work to sign (Jrue Holiday) to a long-term deal" to retain the veteran guard past this season after reportedly acquiring him in a blockbuster trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.
Boston was among the teams "at the very top" of Holiday's wish list, per Wojnarowski.
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Holiday has one year and $36.9 million remaining on his current contract with a $39.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. Many expect the 33-year-old to decline his player option and become a free agent next summer, so the Celtics would need to offer him a contract extension to keep him in Boston long-term, a tactic they deployed with trade acquisition Kristaps Porzingis earlier this summer by extending him on a two-year, $60 million deal.
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Superstar Jayson Tatum is also extension-eligible next offseason, so president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will have to do some cap gymnastics next offseason to build out a roster front-loaded with four stars in Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Holiday and Porzingis. The team did part with about $34.9 million in cap space for next season by trading Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams to Portland for Holiday.
That's a future problem for Stevens, however -- and it could be worth the cost. Holiday is an excellent defender who can fill the void left by 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart while boasting a superior offensive game. He averaged 19.3 points and 7.4 assists per game for the Bucks last season and was the second-best player on the 2020-21 Milwaukee squad that won an NBA championship.
Stevens and the Celtics will be hoping Holiday can deliver a similar result in Boston -- both this season and potentially beyond.