METAIRIE, La.—The Pelicans have acquired Philadelphia All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday in a trade that sent Thursday night’s sixth overall draft choice, Nerlens Noel, to the 76ers, said a person familiar with the situation.
New Orleans also sent the 76ers a protected 2014 first-round pick and received the Sixers’ second-round selection — 42nd overall — in this year’s draft, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced. New Orleans would retain its 2014 first-round selection only if it falls in the top five.
The 6-foot-4 Holiday, a four-year pro, averaged 17.7 points and eight assists for the 76ers last season, when he also agreed to a four-year extension worth about $41 million.
Noel, who is 6-10, averaged 10.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game, and blocked 106 shots as a freshman. Although left knee surgery is expected to sideline him until December, he was still widely considered to be a strong candidate by draft analysts to be taken as high as first overall. Instead, he surprisingly fell out of the top five after Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, Charlotte and Phoenix all passed on him. That allowed New Orleans to take him and deal him almost immediately to the Sixers.
In the moments after the Pelicans selected him, Noel seemed pleased by the prospect of joining fellow former Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, promising a “shot-blocking party” in New Orleans. Yet, as he uttered those words, his trade to Philadelphia was already in motion.
The trade gives the Pelicans an opportunity to have a starting back court of Holiday and prolific scorer Eric Gordon — if Gordon can stay healthy, something he has yet to do since arriving in New Orleans in a trade that dealt Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The move also will affect Greivis Vasquez, who was New Orleans’ starting point guard last season and one of the NBA’s most improved players.