It has been a wild ride for Jrue Holiday this past week, who was dealt to the Blazers in a blockbuster three-team trade but has ultimately landed in Boston.
The former Buck was traded to the Celtics on October 1 in exchange for Malcolm Brogdon, Rob Williams, and two future first-round draft picks.
Holiday admitted he was quietly optimistic he would land in Boston as his preferred destination.
“I had hopes of being here,” Holiday said Wednesday afternoon after his first practice. “Sometimes you don’t want to get your hopes up, just because you can get your heart broken that way. But once I ended up getting traded here, that’s what I was committed to.”
There is only one reason the Celtics signed Holiday and that is to win a championship.
“I feel like coming here is definitely my best chance of winning,” Jrue said. “I’m here to really just help step up that game and become a champion.”
After watching practice closely on Tuesday and then joining in on Wednesday, Holiday was impressed by what he saw.
“I think watching them first, you could tell some of the chemistry that guys already had and the bonds that they had, which was really cool,” Holiday said. “You could tell that they were hungry and really about the things that maybe didn’t work last year, but making them better this year. That’s just from watching. And then going out and actually playing with them, because I’ve played against them for so long, it felt great. It felt great to get out there and compete. We know that our best players are the most competitive ones and they’re kind of leading the charge. [Jayson Tatum] and [Jaylen Brown] were out there after people defensively and I know how it can be, being a two-way player. But I think for us to be a great team, obviously, those two are going to carry us along a lot of the way.”
Although he was quick to praise his new teammates, it was Holiday that set the tone, according to Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce and co-owner Steve Pagliuca.
“There was just an electricity in the gym today,” Pagliuca said. “Paul Pierce turned to us and said he’s never seen an NBA practice in his whole entire career, that they went that hard, that fast for that long.”
The 2021 champion seems like he is already having a positive effect at the franchise.
Having Holiday, the C’s other new recruit Kristaps Porzingis, Brown and Tatum out on the floor together could be a very scary combination.