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An argument for Jrue Holiday as vocal leader of Celtics

Guest article by "The Sports Machine with Slim"

The 4 year/ $135 million extension for Jrue Holiday comes as a bit of a surprise to The Sports Machine with SlimWhy now? That is the first question I asked upon hearing the news. There are only 3 games left in the regular season. Why not just wait until the season is over and then give him the extension? Maybe the Celtics brass were afraid that Jrue would have a ridiculously good playoff run and then be in position to demand a much more expensive contract?  That seems unlikely. On this team, it will be hard for Jrue to stand out with huge numbers offensively. There are just too many scoring options.

Maybe the Celtics leadership team needed this long to make sure they knew Jrue is a hard worker and a good teammate? I guess that's possible - but they weren't able to tell that a month or two ago? That gives me some concern, because it has been obvious to anyone watching the Celtics this year that Jrue Holiday is a stud who is willing to do whatever is necessary to help his team win. That's the player he has been for years.

I have a different theory on why the Celtics decided now is the right time to give Jrue that contract extension. Wyc and gang want every player in that locker room to know that Jrue Holiday is somebody who is gonna be here for a long time. When Jrue speaks in the huddle during the playoffs, the players on the team need to know that the voice they are hearing is someone who is 100% pure unadulterated Celtic. 

With a team packed full of NBA all-star talent, whose voice is going to be the loudest when times get tough? Will it be Jayson Tatum's? He is our best player, but he isn't a loud talker. Will it be Al Horford? He is the veteran everyone wants to win for, plus Al has been here for years, but he isn't necessarily a loud talker either. And he many times won't even be on the court at the end of a close game. Derek White is a great member of the team, but in crunch time I don't think players on this Celtics team are going to look for him to be the man who brings us to the promised land. Same goes for Kristaps Porzingus.

That leaves us with Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown. Jaylen Brown has the largest contract in NBA history, with a 5 years, $304 million deal that kicks in next year. But Jaylen also has a history of chocking in big games.  Let's just look at Tuesday night's loss at Milwaukee. Brown was 7-19 from the field. 0-6 from three. He also had 5 turnovers. This has been a recurring them for him. In Game 7 vs Miami last year, he was 8-23 from the field, 1-9 from three. AND he had 8 TURNOVERS!

Jrue Holiday needs to have the loudest voice during the playoffs. He is the man who was won a title before. He is the guy that other players need to shut up and listen to when times get tough. And he is the man Celtics fans want to be in charge of making decisions at the end of big games. Celtics fans want this. And the folks making decisions at the executive level for the Celtics want this too. That's why they signed him to the contract extension.

Jim McIntyre 

Host of WKXL Spotlight and The Sports Machine with Slim


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