The New Orleans Pelicans had reached a crossroads, with their top two guards eligible for extensions. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin made his decision late Monday night: Lonzo Ball stays, Jrue Holiday goes.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Holiday is on his way to the Milwaukee Bucks for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and three first-round picks, along with pick swaps.
"You can't have a young team with Jrue making $25 million a year," a former Western Conference executive said. "It kills your cap space and room under the luxury tax."
Holiday, 30, is the better player but isn't on the same timeline as the Pelicans' talented young core. Ball, just 23, fits better with Zion Williamson (20) and Brandon Ingram (23), but is he capable of running the team as the lead guard without Holiday alongside him?
Or will Ball find himself marginalized by his new teammates in Bledsoe and Hill? The Pelicans are parting with Holiday, but that may not indicate a long-term marriage is near with Ball.
The biggest knock on Ball during his first two years in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers was his durability. He missed nearly half of each season and most of the offseasons, primarily with knee injuries, though he fared better in New Orleans, getting through 63 of 72 games.