April 19, 2024

USA Basketball is aggressively pursuing Boston Celtics All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to return to Team USA for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, sources told ESPN.

Holiday, 33, has yet to decide, but USA officials — with managing director Grant Hill leading the way — are hopeful Holiday will commit to being one of the 12 members on next year’s Team USA Olympic team, sources said.

USA Basketball officials use the word “beloved” to describe how strongly they feel about Holiday, whom they considered the second-most-impactful player, after Kevin Durant, on the 2021 gold-medal-winning team. Team USA struggled defensively in the FIBA world championships this summer in the Philippines and Holiday’s on-ball defense, playmaking and leadership are among the factors fueling USA Basketball’s recruitment.

The 2024 Olympic team is expected to include such future Hall of Famers as LeBron James, Durant, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum, but some of the All-Stars who publicly volunteered recently that they plan to play for Team USA won’t be extended invitations. There’s no timetable on a Holiday decision, but Hill and coach Steve Kerr have put a premium on the combination of Holiday’s talent and temperament as a necessary component to build a gold-medal roster, sources said.

In the more physical FIBA game, Holiday thrived on the USA’s way to the 2021 gold. He had a run of shutting down opposing guards in the final three rounds of the tournament that played a huge part in the Americans’ championship.

Holiday, a five-team All-Defensive selection in the NBA, averaged 19.3 points for the Milwaukee Bucks last season. He also averaged career highs in rebounds (5.1) and free throw percentage (86%) for the Bucks, per ESPN Stats & Information. Holiday ranked in the top 5% in field goal percentage allowed as the closest defender last season among players to defend at least 700 shots, per Second Spectrum. Holiday arrived with the Celtics in a recent trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, who acquired him as part of the Damian Lillard blockbuster.

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