ReGrade the trade: Trail Blazers still fleeced Bucks in Damian Lillard deal

Dame can win a title. Portland still won the trade.
Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (left); Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks
Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (left); Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Damian Lillard did Damian Lillard things in Game 1 of the Milwaukee Bucks' first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. Portland Trail Blazers fans recognize vintage Lillard when they see it - 35 points in a half, with a step-back, 28-foot buzzer-beater thrown in for good measure.

Dame is on the best team he's ever been a part of and has his best shot at winning an NBA championship this season. The Blazers, meanwhile, won 21 games. It seems like a no-brainer that the Bucks won September's trade bringing the seven-time All-NBA point guard to the Cream City. But is that really the case?

The Trail Blazers are winning the long game

Lillard torched the much-hyped Indiana Pacers, at one point individually matching the NBA's No. 1 offense in scoring. As he said himself, that's what the Bucks brought him to Milwaukee to do,

The Blazers knew what they would lose when they moved Dame: a franchise icon, fan favorite and star point guard. Taking a step back wasn't just inevitable, it was the plan. Pack the roster full of young talent like Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe. Let Anfernee Simons have his shot at filling Lillard's shoes offensively. Collect a bunch of assets and lose a bunch of games. So far, so good.