Baby Come Back: Looking at a Jrue Holiday Reunion in Philadelphia

As we all know at this point, Jahlil Okafor-to-New Orleans rumors are in “advanced talks.” The Sixers are pursuing Jrue Holiday as part of the package for Okafor, as reported by Yahoo.

A deal centering around Holiday most likely won’t happen – reports have already surfaced signaling that New Orleans wants to hang onto him – but more interesting Philadelphia’s interest in a reunion with their former point guard. In 37 games this season Holiday is averaging 16 points, 7.4 assists, and 1.5 steals on career highs in FG% and 3P%. He’s currently 4th in dRPM and 10th in overall RPM among point guards.

Holiday has shown the ability to produce at high levels when healthy (more on that later) but is often overlooked due to the staggering amount of stellar point guard play in the league.

Holiday is a free agent this summer and is going to fetch a hefty contract but should warrant a careful look.

Holiday would add much-needed spacing opening up room for Simmons to operate while also serving as a secondary ball-handler. There are slight concerns about Holiday’s potential effectiveness on offense not being the primary ball-handler, but he has enough ability shooting and slashing that the combination with Simmons should work. On the defense end, he would cover the point guard position (duh) at a league average to above average level.

With the projected cap of $102 million, Holiday’s potential contract can max out at $30.1 million per year but will probably fetch a bit less on the market. Assuming that the Sixers pick up cheap team options for Covington, McConnell, and Holmes, while waiving Gerald Henderson, their payroll for 2017/18 would be roughly around $37 million. (This projection does not include any potential trades or the big question mark of resigning Noel.) Estimating around $25million/year for Holiday leaves open an additional $40 million in cap space. Jrue would most likely retain full value through the duration of the deal as the cap continues to increase year-over-year. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that Jrue is only 26 years old.

Yeah, I know.

But, there are concerns. In three seasons with New Orleans, Holiday has never managed to play more than 65 games. His inability to stay on the court for large stretches of the season are sure to scare away a few potential suitors this offseason. I’m much more optimistic. From 2009-2013 with Philadelphia, Holiday played in 73, 82, 65, and 78 games respectively, averaging nearly 33 minutes per game. It’s also no secret that New Orleans doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to medical staffing and player health. Although the injury concern is real, I don’t think it’s that real.

Who knows if Jrue wants to come back – but the interest alone from the Sixers front office has me wanting to see a reunion.

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