The Portland Trail Blazers have finally made that elusive Damian Lillard trade, sending the point guard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a shocking three-team deal. Dame will finally get a legitimate chance to chase a title alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Here’s the full deal and what it means for the Blazers.
Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard to Milwaukee Bucks in 3-team deal
Milwaukee responds to Giannis questioning how much his franchise wants to win championships by making the NBA-shattering deal to acquire Damian Lillard. The Bucks were in contention for a Lillard trade, but considering their lack of assets, it seemed pretty much impossible.
The Phoenix Suns had been rumored to be a third team willing to jump in and facilitate a deal, which seemed much likelier – and as it turns out, that was the case.
Blazers finally get a deal done, but is the return worth it?
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Portland’s complete haul is Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Milwaukee’s 2029 first-round pick, Bucks pick swaps in 2028 and 2030 and Toumani Camara. In exchange, the Blazers give up Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.
Ayton has reportedly been a target of Portland’s for quite awhile. He’s an upgrade over Nurkic at the center spot.
The most significant question is, what happens with Holiday? The Blazers could use a veteran leader in the locker room, but in terms of on-court fit, the franchise’s goals and Holiday’s assumed lack of desire to be on a rebuilding team, where does general manager Joe Cronin turn next?
Surely, Jrue will be moved on sooner rather than later.
The end of one era, the beginning of another
Lillard was the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He spent 11 seasons in Portland, becoming a franchise icon, fan favorite and eventual Hall of Famer. Playoff success eluded him, though, as the Blazers only made one Western Conference Finals appearance. They were swept by the Golden State Warriors.
What will be Dame’s eventual legacy in Portland?
On the flip side, it’s finally time to kickoff the franchise’s future. That may have arguably started on June 22, when the Trail Blazers drafted Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 pick. Lillard asked for a trade less than two weeks later.
Now, it’s Scoot’s turn, along with Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons. That trio will carry the organization into its next phase – hopefully one that finds more team success than it did during the Damian Lillard Era.
But certainly, Dame, you will be missed. Go get your title.