Milwaukee Bucks Acquire Jrue Holiday From New Orleans Pelicans In Effort To Keep Giannis Antetokounmpo: Report

The Milwaukee Bucks made a major statement in their case to keep two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo by acquiring star guard Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, per reports, mortgaging the future at one last run to keep their franchise.

Milwaukee will send guard Eric Bledsoe and George Hill along with what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski called “significant” draft compensation. It’s at least three first rounders, including the 24th overall pick in Wednesday’s draft, with two pick swaps.

Holiday is a sensational two-way player who put up 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game last year for the Pelicans. The 30-year-old will make $26.1 million next season with a $27 million player option for 2021-2022. He’ll now team with Antetokounmpo and All-Star forward Khris Middleton as a big three the Bucks are hoping will make an NBA Finals run to convince Giannis, who will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, to sign a supermax contract.

Antetokounmpo will also be eligible to sign the five-year, $230 supermax contract before the regular season begins on Dec. 22, but will not be able to re-sign until after next season once that date passes.

Milwaukee felt like it had to make a major deal, as the current core wasn’t cutting it after a five-game second round playoff loss in the Orlando bubble to the Miami Heat. If the Bucks plan fails and Antetokounmpo leaves, Holiday could opt out of the last year of his contract as well and depart next summer too. It’s a gamble Bucks general manager Jon Horst is willing to make. If Milwaukee fails to keep Giannis, Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin would own valuable draft assets for the next several years.

The Bucks made another big, bold roster move late Monday, agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings for restricted free agent wing Bogdan Bogdanovic. Milwaukee will send out Donte Divincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and DJ Wilson, per Wojnarowski, for the sharpshooting Bogdanovic. That trade can’t be announced until next week since it involves a free agency signing.

Bledsoe, 30, has three years and $54 million left on his contract and averaged 15 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Hill, 34, has two years and $19.6 million left on his contract and averaged nine points, four rebounds and four assists while leading the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage at 46%.

But the duo clearly wasn’t cutting it for the Bucks, who now go completely all in on the 2020-2021 season.

Holiday was one of the most coveted names on the trade market, with reported interest from roughly 10 teams in various states of contention, including the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics. But instead of taking younger players now to support 2019 top overall pick Zion Williamson, Griffin and New Orleans opted to take the package with the most future draft compensation.

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