Boston Celtics Now NBA Title Cofavorites After Jrue Holiday Trade

Posted on: October 2, 2023, 11:57h. 

Last updated on: October 2, 2023, 12:26h.

The Portland Trail Blazers have sent point guard Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics in a trade. The move comes only a couple of days after they acquired him in a blockbuster deal for All-Star Damian Lillard with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jrue Holiday Celtics trade
Boston Celtics guard Derrick White defends point guard Jrue Holiday last season when he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. (Image: Getty)

The Celtics and Bucks are now cofavorites to win the 2023-24 NBA championship at +400 odds. The two teams are also cofavorites to win the Eastern Conference at +180 odds.

Holiday, 33, earned a trip to last year’s NBA All-Star Game, and he’s a five-time All-NBA Defensive team selection. He averaged 19.3 points and 7.4 assists per game with the Bucks last season.

The Celtics sent center Robert Williams III, point guard Malcolm Brogdon, and two first-round draft picks (2024 and 2029) to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Holiday.

The Bucks jumped to the top of the futures board last week after the Lillard trade. But they held the top spot for only a few days before the Celtics pulled even on Sunday after their huge trade for Holiday.

Several teams were in hot pursuit of Holiday, who is considered an elite defender and among the league’s best two-way guards. The Celtics outbid the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, and New York Knicks.

Celtics Shuffle Roster

The Celtics made an appearance in the NBA Finals two seasons earlier, but lost to the Golden State Warriors. They earned the #2 seed in the east last postseason, and were eliminated in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. They met the Miami Heat in the conference finals for the third time in a four-year span, but the Heat edged out the Celtics in a grueling seven-game series.

Celtics general manager Brad Stevens attempts to build a championship contender around their top two stars, forward Jayson Tatum and guard Jaylen Brown. Stevens and the Celtics were very active in the off-season.

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired point guard Marcus Smart from the Celtics in a three-team deal with the Washington Wizards that sent center Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics.

The Celtics acquired two second-round draft picks when they traded forward Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal.

The Celtics added Holiday from the Trail Blazers in exchange for Brogdon, Williams III, and a pair of first-rounders. Brogdon won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Celtics last season, but he was hampered by injuries in the postseason. The Celtics sacrificed an elite rim protector and versatile defender in Williams III in order to strengthen their perimeter defense with Holiday.

The current starting five for the Celtics will feature a backcourt with Holiday and Brown, and a front line with Tatum, Porzingis, and Al Horford.

The Celtics won 57 games last season and enter this season with a win total of 55.5 over/under.

The Celtics are currently -225 odds and are the consensus favorite to win the Atlantic Division for a third-consecutive season.

Blazers GM Still Wheeling and Dealing?

The Heat missed out on the initial Lillard trade when they offered two first-round draft picks plus guard Tyler Herro, second-year forward Nikola Jović, and incoming rookie swingman Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin achieved his goal to trade Lillard before the NBA’s Media Day on October 2, and Cronin acquired a haul that’s more valuable than what the Heat offered him.

After the Lillard and Holiday trades, the Trail Blazers acquired three first-round draft picks and two first-round swaps.

New roster additions include center Deandre Ayton and rookie forward Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns, and Brogdon and Williams III from the Celtics.

The Trail Blazers had to part ways with center Jusuf Nurkić, forward Nassir Little, and guard Keon Johnson. They sent those three players to the Suns to complete the Lillard trade to the Bucks.

The Blazers might not hold on to Williams III and Brogdon for too long before they unload the former Celtics on the trade market. The Heat, Bulls, Clippers, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Timberwolves are potential landing spots for Brogdon.

The Trail Blazers hinted they intend to keep Williams III. But the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavs love his defense, and could make a persuasive pitch to Cronin.

Ripples in the NBA Futures Market

After the Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals in June, they opened as +2000 odds to win the championship next season, according to DraftKings.

Over the summer, the Heat saw their title odds shrink to +900 after Lillard requested a trade to the Heat. The Heat were a popular pick to win the title this off-season based on the Lillard to South Beach trade rumors. They were in the top four on the futures board for most of the summer behind the Nuggets (+475), Celtics (+500), Phoenix Suns (+650), and Bucks (+900).

After the Bucks acquired Lillard last week, the Heat’s championship odds dropped to +2800. The Heat saw their title odds dip as low as +3000 in the wake of the Holiday trade on Sunday.

The Heat were on the short list of potential teams that were interested in Holiday. The Celtics didn’t let Holiday remain on the trade block for too long before they aggressively added him to their roster.

The Heat are currently +1300 odds to successfully defend their Eastern Conference crown, but they’re fifth on the futures board.

The Heat are still the favorite to win the NBA Southeast at -180 odds. They’re ahead of the Atlanta Hawks (+210), Orlando Magic (+800), Charlotte Hornets (+3500), and Washington Wizards (+15000). The Heat seek a third-straight division title, and they won the NBA Southeast division nine times in the last 13 seasons.