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Windhorst: Nets, Pelicans talked Jrue Holiday at deadline

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Jrue Holiday rumors will not die.

In a discussion of trade scenarios that aired Monday on The Hoop Collective podcast, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that the Nets and Pelicans had discussions about the New Orleans point guard at the February deadline. He admitted his recollection was a big foggy.

“That’s certainly something that’s been out there,” Windhorst told colleagues Kevin Pelton and Tim Bontemps. “I think it’s been reported but if it hasn’t, I found out somewhere - I don’t think it was from an executive —maybe it was— that there was some discussion between the Nets and Pelicans in February.”

There’s been speculation about a possible deal for a month, ever since Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson suggested that the Nets would be willing to part with Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Dzanan Musa and protected first round pick for Holiday.

In recent days, speculation about the possibility has increased. Last week, Windhorst speculated that any deal for the 30-year-old Holiday would begin with Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen going to New Orleans. In Monday’s podcast, Windhorst did not provide any details of how such a deal would be structured but again suggested that LeVert and Allen would be likely be required ... assuming that the Pelicans want to deal their star.

Echoing what he said last week about the Pelicans interest in keeping him, Windhorst said, “I’m not 100 percent convinced the Pelicans are going to move him. I think it also depends on the coach that they hire and they way that coach wants to play.”

However, he noted that Holiday has a player option for the 2021-22 season that he’s likely to exercise and the Pelicans do not look like a Western Conference playoff team.

“You should be worried about him opting out,”

Holiday averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and had a 45/35/71 shooting line. Holiday has also made the NBA’s All-Defensive team twice and was named NBA Teammate of the year for 2020, an indication of his locker room presence.

Pelton interjected, saying that “LeVert’s value is a lot higher than it was in February because he played so well in the bubble games,” the suggestion being that the Nets may not be willing to give him up in a deal for Holiday. (Of course, Allen also saw a big jump in his production in the seeding games and first round of the playoffs, averaging a double-double and showing an improved passing.)

Bontemps suggested that the Nets and Pelicans could expand any deal for Holiday to include J.J. Redick, but noted it would be complicated. Both LeVert and Taurean Prince were signed to extensions just before last season and no player in league history has ever been traded before such an extension took effect.

Moreover, the Nets released the latest edition of their documentary series, “The Bridge,” narrated by LeVert who remains a fan favorite.

“This organization, we’re not really listening to outside noise,” LeVert said in the video posted on the Nets’ official website. “We’re just trying to get better. We work year-round for this. We dedicate most of our lives to it. Obviously, we have a lot of talent, but no one knows what the future holds.”

Also on Monday, in a lengthy piece on free agency, Bontemps wrote about Sean Marks’ choices as the end of the trade moratorium approaches. While he noted that Nets have a number of younger players and other pieces they could dangle to acquire a third star, the more prudent route might be to wait.

“The Nets have time to see what they have before trading their young players,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, in another podcast posted Monday, Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post, ESPN’s Lowe says there should be no doubt that the Nets are going for a third star to complement Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

“I think it’s no secret that they’d like to consolidate some of their assets for a third star,” said Lowe but he believes that short of a deal for Bradley Beal, the Nets will not trade LeVert.

Lowe also speculated about a possible trade for Victor Oladipo who the Pacers are reportedly shopping. The ESPN writer said that LeVert is too much for Oladipo but Dinwiddie, Allen and the 19th pick in next month’s draft makes sense.

“I know it’s kind of chic to be down on Brooklyn, I think Brooklyn’s gonna be really good.” Lowe added.

In addition, Lowe said he expects Joe Harris will wind up with a starting salary of $15 million and there will be heavy competition for the free agent. Any salary above $12 million will result in a luxury tax of more than $50 million for Joe Tsai.

“I have news for the Nets: They’re going to have competition for Joe Harris. These teams with cap room all view Joe as a potential very good fit on the floor and a good culture guy.” said Lowe on his podcast.

“I think Harris may have even more of an market because teams trust their defense more. He’s more sort of positionally fluid on defense. I think the Nets are going to have to pay like $15 million per year to keep Joe Harris.”