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January 18, 2017

Sixers to 'take a hard look' at free agent Jrue Holiday in offseason?

ESPN’s Zach Lowe took readers on a New Orleans Pelicans deep dive, specifically focusing on the franchise’s unclear future despite having a young superstar talent in Anthony Davis. The Pellies are 16-26, which means that they’re still alive for the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoff hunt (and the right to get their doors blown off by Golden State).

One of the central figures that Lowe’s piece examines is point guard and former Sixer Jrue Holiday, a free agent this offseason. Lowe’s reporting makes it seem that Holiday re-signing in New Orleans is far from a slam dunk.

One of the possible alternatives that he listed in free agency should be of interest to Sixers fans. And make no mistake, this is not coming from someone who spreads flimsy trade rumors:

That would leave only Sacramento, Philadelphia, New York, and perhaps Orlando as big-money suitors in dire need of a point guard. The Sixers will take a hard look at Holiday, sources say; he fits what they need around Ben Simmons, and the hilariousness of Philly bringing Holiday back after flipping him to start The Process is irresistible. Orlando has expressed interest in Dragic, sources have said, but Elfrid Payton has surged over the last month.

It would be both funny and kind of fitting if the Sixers brought back Holiday as The Process era ended, even more so if Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric (who he was essentially traded for during the 2013 NBA Draft) are still on the roster. After all, that trade kickstarted this turbulent, interesting era of basketball that we find ourselves still on.

But would Holiday be a fit with the current Sixers personnel? From an on-court standpoint, the UCLA product works nicely in theory next to Ben Simmons as a secondary playmaker that can happily function well off the ball. From Lowe:

But he has never been the sort of dynamic rim-attacker who can run an elite offense solo. Holiday functions best splitting the job with another off-the-bounce creator, and he's a good enough spot-up shooter to remain dangerous away from the ball.

Holiday is an average to slightly above-average three-point shooter who can play off the ball with Simmons. If you will recall, Jrue can really guard. I remember being blown away by this absurd defensive possession on Kyrie Irving:

At 26 years old — He’s already heading for his third contract because he came into the NBA as the league’s youngest player — Holiday could still fit the timeline of Simmons and Joel Embiid. Still, he’s not a particularly strong finisher around the rim. And most importantly Holiday played only a total of 139 regular-season games his first three years in New Orleans. That is worrisome moving forward.

With the Sixers potentially getting two cracks at a super deep point guard class in the draft, the best option may be to find ball-handling there instead of paying Holiday $15 million per year in free agency this offseason.

Sam Hinkie shrewdly traded Holiday (who he liked as a player) in 2013 because the rest of the roster needed retooling. After four years of Processing, maybe Bryan Colangelo thinks it’s now time to bring him back.

What are your thoughts on a potential Jrue-Sixers reunion? Vote in the poll and you can explain why in the comments below.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann