The long national nightmare of the Damian Lillard trade saga finally came to an unexpected end on Wednesday. The Bucks stepped up as the unlikely destination for Lillard and a three-team trade saw DeAndre Ayton go to the Suns as the premier young player in their return package for Lillard.
Jrue Holiday, though, is the player almost every team around the league will have eyes on in the Blazers return package. The veteran guard was also dealt to Portland, but his stint in the Northwest is likely going to be a short one, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Blazers remain engaged elsewhere on deals and will are expected to immediately engage contending teams on trade talks to move on Jrue Holiday, sources tell ESPN. Portland is committed to its young group of talented guards. https://t.co/6IR7bcFVrr— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 27, 2023
As Woj notes, every team with any ideas of contending next season will be calling Portland in the next 24 hours. The Lakers will likely be one of those sides and should do so if for no other reason than due diligence.
But how realistic is it that the Lakers get seriously involved in Jrue trade talks? Well, it depends on the Blazers timeline.
If Portland is determined to trade Holiday either before training camp or early in the season, the Lakers have effectively no hope. All of the issues that are going to prevent them from getting involved in a Buddy Hield trade are also going to apply here.
But if the Blazers wait until Dec. 15 to make a trade, the Lakers very well could jump to the front of the line. The Lakers have long been connected to Jrue Holiday and he and Anthony Davis developed a friendship during their time together in New Orleans.
Once Dec. 15 comes, the near entirety of the Lakers roster will be available to be traded and that could change lots in trade discussions. Whether it means more players to trade to Portland directly or re-route to a third team, it creates more possibilities and definitely gets the Lakers in the conversation.
Jrue Holiday being on an expiring deal — technically he has a player option for next season but it’s likely he turns it down — and the Lakers having basically everyone locked up long-term will create some issues in trade discussions most likely.
The Blazers would have to really like someone on the Lakers roster under contract for the coming years or one of Max Christie or Jalen Hood-Schifino to do the deal. Otherwise, a three-team trade would be the hope and that starts making things way more complicated.
But the summary is, the quicker the Blazers want to do this deal, the less likely the Lakers will be able to complete a trade. But if we get to that important Dec. 15 date, the chances increase drastically, even if there are still some notable hurdles to overcome.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.