76ers Pay $3 Million To Pelicans For Not Disclosing Jrue Holiday Injury History
Two years to the day after the New Orleans Pelicans agreed in principle to trade the rights to rookie draft pick (6th overall) Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first rounder to the Philadelphia 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, it was revealed the 76ers did not disclose the injury history of Holiday's troublesome right leg.
According to Keith Pompey's sources, Holiday played with stress fractures in his right leg during his final season in Philly. A team source denied the report, according to Pompey, while 76ers GM Sam Heinke has refused to comment on the subject matter.
Holiday only missed 5 games in his first 3 NBA seasons, all with Philadelphia. In two seasons with the Pelicans, Holiday has played in 77 of a possible 168 games. The 91 games missed began when he was pulled out of the lineup in January of 2014, before ultimately needing a surgery in late February of the same year due to a stress fracture in his lower right leg. He missed the remainder of the season.
Last season, Holiday started at point guard for the first 37 games before being sidelined with a stress reaction, a precursor to a stress fracture. New Orleans cautiously held out Holiday until the final week of the regular season, when he played limited minutes in the final few games and playoff series, sitting out entire games during that stretch as well.
Holiday underwent surgery on May 6th to remove a screw in his leg. The screw was inserted from his previous surgery in February of 2014.
Plenty of questions arise from the report, including the penalty levied on the 76ers. $3 million seems light when considering the nature of the injury they allegedly withheld from New Orleans. Should it be heavier?
Would Pelicans general manager Dell Demps have made the trade if he had known about the stress fracture? Demps has declined to comment on the report.
How did the Pelicans medical staff miss the diagnosis when performing Holiday's physical? There was 12 weeks between the end of the 76ers season in 2013 to the time the trade for Holiday was finalized in July of 2014, plenty of time for a stress reaction to heal in the short term with rest.
Without rest and with a heavy workload, a stress reaction eventually becomes a stress fracture.
At this point, no question changes the reality. Jrue Holiday, when healthy, is the starting point guard in New Orleans. When he's not, he's $10,595,507 of salary on the bench in street clothes. Tom Benson, a billionaire, has an extra $3 million (less than the average NBA player salary).
It may sound cliche, but at this point, the Pelicans and their fans can only hope for the best, that Holiday's right leg fully heals this summer and he returns to the All-Star level he has proven he can reach...when healthy.