According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, the Denver Nuggets look to be one of few competitors for the services of Jrue Holiday in the quickly approaching free agency period. Deveny states in his article:

Holiday will draw interest from the Nuggets, a source said, and Denver is expected to be aggressive on the free-agent market.

This is a mild surprise. As Deveney states, the Nuggets are expected to be a player in free agency this year. With loads of cap space, a roster that fell excruciatingly short of making the postseason last year and a relatively mediocre night at the draft, its natural to assume Denver will be looking to upgrade their roster in free agency. Holiday however hasn’t been linked to the Nuggets prior to now, at least not this blatantly. That didn’t stop the Stiffs from doing a free agent profile on him however, and if you’d like to know more about Jrue check out that piece right here.

Being that he is a point guard, Holiday fits a position of need for the Nuggets, or at the very least offers them an upgrade in the caliber of play at that position for next season. While Denver has young point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray, Mudiay has struggled mightily despite his high draft billing and Murray, who is a combo guard, looked far more comfortable operating off ball last season as opposed to on ball. Holiday offers the Nuggets a starting caliber veteran point guard, something they simply don’t have on their roster at the moment. Jameer Nelson, while a veteran, will not give Denver the same level of play at the starting position that they can get from Holiday.

Jrue would give the Nuggets a consistent 15 points and 6 assists at minimum, but would have a solid opportunity to expand on those numbers if operating in the Nuggets high powered offense. His scoring ability would help fill the void that could be left if Danilo Gallinari doesn’t re-sign and while he isn’t on the level of a Patrick Beverley, he was pretty solid as a defender last season as well and certainly would represent an upgrade in that department.

As Deveney indicates, the market has likely cooled on Holiday, given that there are many free agent point guards available (Chris Paul notwithstanding) and also names like Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe and possibly even still Beverley are rumored to be available via trade. Holiday also wants to play for a team with a chance at making the playoffs which eliminates lower tier teams from the pursuit. Indeed, if the Nuggets truly do want to make an aggressive push at Holiday his current team, the New Orleans Pelicans, will be one of the few Denver has to compete with. However, Holiday is rumored to be looking for a max contract and while that may just be ambitious talk from his agent, it’s unlikely that Denver will be able to secure his services at a bargain (and no, Jrue Holiday is not a max contract player).

The other risk that comes with Holiday is health. While relatively healthy at the start of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers (where he earned one all star appearance), Jrue has never eclipsed the 70 game mark in his four year tenure with the Pelicans. In fact, out of a possible 328 games, Holiday has only appeared in 206 in his time in New Orleans, a very Gallinari-esque number. Still, Holiday has remained much more healthy the past two seasons, where he played 65 and 67 games, in comparison to his first two seasons with the Pelicans (34 and 40 games).

The other question is whether or not bringing in a player like Holiday is worth it. As I’ve said, he certainly represents an upgrade at the point guard position for next season, but one has to wonder how much beyond next season that upgrade would extend versus letting Murray continue to develop his skills as a point guard. The Nuggets clearly think Murray is a big part of their future given the fact they have made him unattainable in any trade discussions and they also have another young piece of their core, Gary Harris, currently occupying the two guard position. Holiday is likely going to ask for a four year deal from the Nuggets (he’d be stupid to ask for anything else) and its probably unreasonable to hope the Nuggets could sign him for anything shorter than a three year deal. One way or another, bringing Holiday on means either he, Murray or Harris will have to take a bench role for the next couple of seasons, something I’m not sure any of them would be thrilled about.

Point guard and forward are the areas where Denver has the best opportunity to upgrade so its not surprising to see them chasing this and if they can’t land Holiday, who reportedly plans to begin free agency negotiations the very moment he is allowed to, there will still be plenty of opportunity to bring in a talented player for the point, which is arguably the deepest position of this free agency period. If Holiday is on their list, its fair to assume the Nuggets will also, at the very least, explore the idea of signing guys like George Hill, Jeff Teague and perhaps even Derrick Rose (kidding, kidding). Free agency is a mere 34 hours away Nuggets nation!

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