WASHINGTON – Responding to the blockbuster National Basketball Association trade that sent Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics obtained former Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday from the Portland Trail Blazers in a trade deal on Sunday.
The Celtics confirmed they are sending guard Malcolm Brogdon, centre Robert Williams III, a 2024 first-round NBA Draft pick obtained from the Golden State Warriors and a 2029 first-round selection to the Trail Blazers for Holiday.
“The Holiday season came early this year,” the Celtics posted. “Welcome to Boston @Jrue_Holiday11.”
The Celtics answered the challenge issued by Milwaukee last Wednesday when the Bucks acquired superstar guard Lillard as part of a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns that sent 33-year-old Holiday to the Trail Blazers.
Holiday is a two-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection who played a key role in Milwaukee’s 2021 championship run, the first NBA crown for the Bucks in 50 years.
“We’re excited to see Jrue in a Celtics uniform,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said. “He plays the game with a great competitive character and his impact on and off the court has been felt everywhere throughout his career.”
When Milwaukee swung the deal for Lillard, Las Vegas oddsmakers moved the Bucks into a most fancied role among title contenders for the upcoming season, leapfrogging the Celtics.
Boston’s response figures to add to Eastern Conference tensions even more, with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo having said how sad he was to lose Holiday even as his team was adding a top playmaker in Lillard.
Holiday won the NBA’s Teammate of the Year award in three of the past four seasons from player voting, took the NBA Sportsmanship award in 2021 and won this year’s ESPY Sports Humanitarian Award for community charity efforts.
He averaged 19.3 points, 7.4 assists, a career-high 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game last season for Milwaukee in his 14th NBA campaign.
In Boston’s line-up, Holiday likely will fill the starting point guard role that previously had belonged to Marcus Smart, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team off-season deal that also brought giant Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics.
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