Brad Stevens reportedly outbid Danny Ainge in trade for Jrue Holiday


The Celtics outbid multiple teams in order to acquire Holiday, including the Jazz, Heat, and Clippers.

Waltham, MA--4/23/2018-- Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens (L) chats with Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge during practice.
Brad Stevens reportedly outbid Danny Ainge in order to trade for Jrue Holiday. (Jessica Rinaldi/ The Boston Globe

Brad Stevens and the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster deal for All-Star guard Jrue Holiday last weekend, even at the cost of giving up Rob Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, and two first-round picks.

But this is not the first time that Boston has shown interest in adding the coveted defensive guard.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported in 2020 that Boston was interested in plucking Holiday from the Pelicans before he eventually landed in Milwaukee. 

At that time, Brad Stevens was entrenched on the sideline as Boston’s head coach, while Danny Ainge still held the reins as the Celtics’ top basketball executive.

Plenty has changed since then, with Stevens at the helm of the Celtics’ basketball ops, and Ainge serving in a new role as the CEO of the Utah Jazz.

But it’s clear that Ainge’s interest in acquiring Holiday hasn’t lessened since then.

During the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe detailed the various suitors that called the Trail Blazers about Holiday before Stevens and the Celtics eventually swooped in.

It should come as little surprise that other contenders like the Heat and Clippers submitted bids to Portland, as previously reported. 

But according to Lowe, Ainge and the Jazz also made a concerted effort to try and deal for Holiday, only to be outbid by Stevens.

“Utah was in it,” Lowe said. “I’m not sure they were on like the final, final Jrue Holiday list because they’re just not going to be good enough, and I like that Utah was in on it because Utah has so many picks from so many different places that they have the luxury of saying you know what — if we get a really good player and a really good role model for our young guys who also clears up what is kind of a cluster — you know what — random guards all put together and have so much stuff left over —why not, why not? Because we don’t need to tank necessarily as hard as some other rebuilding teams.”

Lowe added that the Pacers and Knicks also kicked the tires on a potential Holiday trade, but few teams could match the offer that Stevens and the Celtics ultimately put forward.

“There’s a list of guys in the league that you always think you’ve never had a real chance to get that you think are perfect fits,” Stevens said at the Celtics’ media day, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “And Jrue is one of those guys.”

Stevens added: “You got to pay a good price for things, right? That’s the way it goes. We’re trying to win a championship. This speaks to our ownership’s willingness to spend regardless and our eagerness to be the best possible team we can be.”