Damian Lillard has finally been traded, and he's heading to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Portland Trail Blazers sent Lillard to Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Blazers will receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Milwaukee's 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030. The Suns will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.
Lillard and his camp made it clear that he wanted to be traded to the Miami Heat, but the Blazers weren't interested in Miami's offer. This trade still sends Lillard to a contender, and he gets to play with a fellow superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Lillard and Antetokounmpo have previously talked about wanting to team up. Last year, GQ asked Lillard which one player he'd want to team up with in pursuit of an NBA championship.
“I would pick Giannis," Lillard responded. "Just the dominance, somebody that’s going to get to the rim. He’s a good playmaker, a good defender, disruptive. And the way he plays complements the way I play. I would bring something to the table that complements what he does and vice versa. Seamless [fit]."
A few months ago, Antetokounmpo was asked the same question and he also chose Lillard. Now, the pair will form one of the best one-two punches in the NBA.
Recently, Antetokounmpo had made some comments about his future with the Bucks being up in the air and how he wasn't content with simply winning one championship in Milwaukee. Perhaps he was trying to get the Bucks' front office to budge and make this blockbuster acquisition? Now, it certainly seems as if he'll remain in Milwaukee for the considerable future, especially since Lillard has three guaranteed years (plus a player option in 2026-27) remaining on his current contract with the Bucks.
Now, with Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, Malik Beasley and Co., the Bucks have to be considered a favorite to win the Eastern Conference.
For Portland, this trade gives them another young cornerstone in Deandre Ayton to put alongside Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe. They will reportedly try to flip Jrue Holiday (a favorite of NBA executives) for additional assets. Now, the franchise can move on from the Lillard saga and focus on their rebuild rather than having this situation drag into the season.
Last season, Lillard had arguably the best year of his career, averaging 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 threes, while shooting 46.3% from the field, 37.1% from three-point range and 91.4% from the free-throw line. He is a seven-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection and a member of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team.