In an unexpected turn of events on a nondescript Wednesday in September, the NBA left fans in awe as the Portland Trail Blazers bid farewell to their All-Star point guard, Damian Lillard. Contrary to popular belief, Lillard didn’t make his way to the Miami Heat, a destination anticipated throughout the summer. Instead, Lillard’s journey led him to Milwaukee, where he is set to form a formidable partnership with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
This sudden trade announcement caught everyone off guard, as the Milwaukee Bucks were never on the radar as a potential landing spot for the All-Star player. In exchange for Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers will receive a package deal that includes point guard Jrue Holiday, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick courtesy of the Bucks, and the option to swap first-round picks with Milwaukee in 2028 and 2030.
The Trail Blazers’ acquisition spree didn’t stop there. They secured center Deandre Ayton and rookie sensation Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns, effectively transforming this trade into a complex, three-team deal. Sources suggest that the Blazers have no intention of keeping Jrue Holiday and are actively exploring trade possibilities with other contenders.
This development begs the question: could the Los Angeles Lakers be in the running to acquire the former All-Star guard?
Should the Lakers express interest in Jrue Holiday, they would likely need to dangle their 2029 first-round pick as part of any potential deal. However, Lakers fans may need to exercise patience, as most of their tradeable contracts won’t become eligible until December 15th. Players such as D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura could emerge as enticing options for the Trail Blazers if they decide to retain Holiday until that time. Notably, Russell’s inclusion could provide much-needed salary cap relief for Portland after this season.
Another factor to consider is Jrue Holiday’s substantial player option of $37 million for the upcoming season. The Lakers may be hesitant to take on such a financial burden, further complicating any potential trade negotiations.
Realistically, a deal bringing Jrue Holiday to the Lakers appears improbable at this juncture, given their apparent commitment to their current roster. Nevertheless, General Manager Rob Pelinka would be remiss not to at least explore the possibility by reaching out to Portland to gauge the potential terms of such a transaction.