The Damian Lillard trade saga is officially over — for now — but the superstar point guard is not headed to the Miami Heat and instead will start training camp next week as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
It has been over two months since the seven-time All-Star requested that his 11-year run with the Portland Trail Blazers be brought to an end via a trade to his preferred destination the Miami Heat. However, as the months passed rumblings persisted that the Trail Blazers were not enamored with the return the Eastern Conference powerhouse could offer.
Over the last week, rumors spread that several teams had jumped into the fray and were in conversations about trading for the disgruntled guard, with reports claiming the Toronto Raptors had become a surprise front-runner to land the future Hall-of-Famer.
Damian Lillard traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a massive eight-player deal
Along with the Raptors, the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks had also reportedly engaged the Western Conference club about a deal to acquire Lillard. Well, on Wednesday afternoon it was revealed that the title-contending Bucks had apparently won the Damian Lillard sweepstakes.
- Damian Lillard stats (2022): 32.3 PG, 4.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 37% 3PT
The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania reported that “Portland, Milwaukee, and Phoenix have agreed to a three-team trade.” The deal will see Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick, and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030 go to the Blazers. The Suns will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson, and of course, Lillard lands with the Bucks.
Damian Lillard trade details:
- Milwaukee Bucks get: Damian Lillard
- Phoenix Suns get: Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson
- Portland Trail Blazers get: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick, and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030
The move is a massive coup for the Bucks and should significantly improve the championship hopes of the team that was the one-seed in the East last season before their shocking first-round ouster to the Heat. It also sends a major sign to superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo that they are all in on winning and keeping him in Wisconsin for the rest of his career.
Portland reportedly was hot for Suns center Deandre Ayton in a potential deal and get their man along with a proven, winning, veteran floor general in Jrue Holiday to play alongside top pick Scoot Henderson.
After trading for Bradley Beal in the summer, the Suns needed depth in a major way and they got exactly that in the deal and moved a player where addition by subtraction was the strategy in the bold decision.
The Heat are the big losers in this situation as they don’t land the superstar they wanted and expected to get this summer. They are this offseasons New York Knicks in missing out on the game-changer they were the front-runners to acquire.
There had recently been reports that Damian Lillard would push to be traded to Miami if another team acquired him, however, considering the title hopes of the Bucks and getting to play with a superstar in Antetokounmpo it seems less likely he will force his way from a second team in less than four months.