Jrue Holiday agreed to terms on a new five-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
A fair amount of intrigue followed Holiday in free agency this offseason.
Player salaries are continuing to climb, with the league announcing Saturday the cap for next season is set at $99.093 million. Many wondered what kind of contract Holiday could command on the open market.
There’s no question the 27-year-old has performed well when he’s on the court, and his return last November coincided with an immediate turnaround for the Pelicans.
According to NBA.com, New Orleans had a 0.9 net rating per 100 possessions with Holiday on the court compared to a minus-4.8 net rating when he was on the bench/unavailable. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists a game and shot 35.6 percent from three-point range.
The trouble for the Pelicans—and any other team considering whether to sign Holiday—is how much to weigh his past injury problems into his current value.
His absence at the start of the 2016-17 season wasn’t injury-related. He spent time with his wife, former United States women’s national team star Lauren Holiday, who had brain surgery to remove a tumor. The procedure was after Lauren gave birth to the couple’s daughter.
While Holiday is a better-than-average NBA point guard, it’s doubtful he’ll ever crack the top 10 at his position.
Still, the Pelicans were seemingly in a position where they absolutely had to re-sign Holiday.
In order to become a serious playoff contender—particularly important with DeMarcus Cousins in the final year of his contract—the Pelicans need to have a proven point guard run the offense. The Cousins trade severely hindered New Orleans’ financial flexibility.
Since the Pelicans could go above the cap to re-sign Holiday, their options were either bringing him back for next year and beyond or signing a fringe starter/bench player such as Shaun Livingston, Brandon Jennings or Patty Mills.
Especially based on the early returns of their games together, New Orleans couldn’t expect Cousins and Anthony Davis to carry the team by themselves. Holiday’s presence doesn’t guarantee the Cousins/Davis partnership will lead the Pelicans to the postseason, but it’s far better than the alternative.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com