MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24 the team has acquired guard Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to 2020 second round pick Sam Merrill (60th overall) from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a four-team deal that includes the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets.
The Bucks will send guard Eric Bledsoe, two first round draft picks (2025, 2027) and the right to swap first round draft picks (New Orleans’ own for Milwaukee’s own) in 2024 and 2026 to the Pelicans. Milwaukee also conveys guard George Hill to the Thunder and the draft rights to 2020 first round pick R.J. Hampton (24th overall) to Denver in the trade.
A news release says Holiday, who is entering his 12th season in the NBA, is a two-time All-NBA Defensive Team honoree (2017-18, 2018-19) and 2013 NBA All-Star who has appeared in more than 700 career games with New Orleans and Philadelphia. He spent the last seven seasons with the Pelicans where he averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals over 415 games (364 starts) and leaves as the franchise’s all-time leader in career three-pointers made with 628.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: Sam Merrill #5 of the Utah State Aggies looks for the opening against the Wyoming Cowboys during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 6, 2020 in
A 6-5 guard from Utah State, Merrill was a two-time All-Mountain West First Team selection (2018-19, 2019-20), the 2018-19 Mountain West Player of the Year and a two-time Mountain West Tournament MVP (2019, 2020) in his career with the Aggies. As a senior last season, Merrill ranked second in the Mountain West with 19.7 points per game to go with 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists, while shooting 46.1% from the field and 41.0% from three. In his four seasons at Utah State, Merrill knocked down 42.0% of his 3-point attempts, 47.0% of his shots overall and 89.1% of his free-throw attempts, while averaging 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 131 games.
Bledsoe, who was originally acquired by the Bucks from the Suns in a trade on Nov. 7, 2017, appeared in 210 games (all starts) with the Bucks over the last three seasons and averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He also played in and started 31 playoff games for Milwaukee and averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest.
Hill played in 106 games (2 starts) with the Bucks after being acquired from the Cavaliers as part of a three-team trade in December of 2018. He averaged 8.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game with the Bucks while shooting 47.9% from the field and 38.5% from three. Hill also appeared in 25 postseason games with Milwaukee where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
To complete the trade, Milwaukee will send the draft rights to 2020 first round pick R.J. Hampton to Denver. A 19-year old point guard from Little Elm, Texas, Hampton last played for the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League.