After months of rumors and uncertainty, the Damian Lillard saga is finally at an end, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that Lillard is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team trade that also includes the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks get Lillard while the Suns get Jusuf Nurkić, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen. Meanwhile, the Blazers get Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Jrue Holiday, a first-round pick in 2029 and the right to swap first-rounders in 2028 and 2030. All three picks come from the Bucks.
The trade, of course, completely leaves out Miami. The Heat had been the only team Lillard had originally been interested in joining. However, Miami was never able to offer a package that satisfied the Blazers. Instead, Giannis gets a new superstar teammate while the Blazers get a rookie starter in Scoot Henderson and a star center in Ayton. Furthermore, Woj also reported that the Blazers are looking to immediately move Holiday as they are “committed to its young group of talented guards”.
Giannis Wins The Damian Lillard Trade
If there’s a winner in this trade, it’s Giannis. Milwaukee’s star has been vocal in recent weeks about the need for the franchise to surround him with talent. Now he has a co-star who was top five in points per game last season and top ten in assists per game. Meanwhile, the Blazers could continue to recoup assets to build themselves into a contender. As mentioned, they are already looking to flip Jrue Holiday and build around their young core.
Furthermore, the Bucks immediately solidify their championship aspirations. With a healthy Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Lillard, they are far and away the best team in the East. Sadly, this means that barring a historic collapse or miracle season, the window has likely closed for the Miami Heat. Lillard was their missing puzzle piece. Now not only do they have to play without him, they will have to regularly play against him.