Jrue Holiday will enter free agency this summer, at which time he’ll have an array of suitors and a foregone opportunity to sign a contract that’s worth nine figures over its life.
Naturally, he hasn’t given that the slightest bit of thought, per The New Orleans Advocate‘s Scott Kushner:
The heralded guard will be a free agent five games from now. What could be his final few appearances with the Pelicans begins with Tuesday’s 7 p.m. home finale against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Holiday said.
Instead, Holiday said he has been focused on finishing the season healthy; he has already played 62 games, even after missing the first 12 for family reasons. If he’s able to finish the campaign, he will surpass the most games he has played in a season during his four-year tenure in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Pelicans, as Kushner notes, want Holiday back. And though he will have plenty of other offers elsewhere, they can offer him a fifth year and guarantee him tens of millions of dollars more than anyone else.
But Holiday is in weird territory. He’s not a surefire max candidate, and yet, some team somewhere could be willing to sling max money. That would put the onus on the Pelicans to pay him something similar. That fifth year might allow them to offer him less than the max overall, but they’ll have to come close to meeting market value.
Reflexively, paying what it takes to keep Holiday is no-brainer. You don’t let fringe stars walk for nothing. But with Anthony Davis already locked up and DeMarcus Cousins ticketed for free agency in 2018, the Pelicans have to decide whether committing a lion’s share of their payroll to those three makes them a contender.