Last Updated on September 28, 2023 by SPN Editor
NYC/September 28, 2023 (SPN) | In a surprising turn of events, Damian Lillard trades to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have acquired Lillard, the seven-time All-Star guard from the Portland Trail Blazers in a complex three-team trade that also involves the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
This monumental trade has been making headlines and has fans speculating about its impact on the NBA landscape. Damian Lillard will team up with Giannis Antetokounmpo to form one of the most formidable superstar duos in the coming season.
Lillard, who leaves Portland as the Blazers’ all-time leading scorer with an impressive 19,376 points, achieved a significant milestone by surpassing Clyde Drexler in 2022. He also holds franchise records in 3-pointers made, free throws made, and scoring average. His departure marks the end of an era in Portland basketball.
Just a moment after the Damian Lillard trades was over, he sent well wishes to Trail Blazers fans. He also shared his thoughts about the trade on X, now known as Twitter.
“The casuals won’t be addressed but the trailblazers fans and city of Portland that I love truly will be … and they will be addressed truthfully. Stay tuned,” he said. “Excited for my next chapter! @Bucks”
As part of this multifaceted deal, several notable players are changing teams. Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, and Toumani Camara are heading to the Blazers, along with the Bucks’ 2029 unprotected first-round pick and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030. The Phoenix Suns secure Jusuf Nurkić, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson in the exchange.
Lillard’s loyalty to the Portland Trail Blazers had been a recurring narrative in the NBA, but it began to waver following a disappointing 2020-21 season. The Blazers suffered a first-round exit at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, despite Lillard’s heroic performance, including a 55-point game in a double-overtime loss.
This outcome led to Lillard publicly expressing his desire for a more aggressive approach from the Blazers’ front office in their pursuit of an NBA championship.
However, the subsequent changes made by then-general manager Neil Olshey fell short of expectations. The hiring of Chauncey Billups as head coach and the addition of players like Norman Powell, Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, and Ben McLemore did not significantly improve the team’s fortunes. Olshey’s dismissal followed a workplace misconduct investigation, adding to the turmoil.
In the following season, Lillard was hampered by an abdominal injury, limiting his appearances to a career-low 29 games. The Blazers struggled to a 27-55 record, making it clear that substantial changes were needed for the team to contend.
Lillard’s resurgence during the 2022-23 season, where he averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game, showcased his brilliance. Despite his individual success, the Blazers finished with a lackluster 33-49 record, earning them the third overall pick in the draft.
The draft presented a pivotal moment for the Blazers, as they selected Scoot Henderson, a promising young point guard. This decision left Lillard and his agent, Aaron Goodwin, in anticipation of the team’s moves during free agency.
Ultimately, the second day of 2023 free agency saw Damian Lillard’s request for a trade, marking the end of an era in Portland. Lillard’s contract, valued at $216.2 million over the next four seasons, added complexity to any potential trade deals.
Despite his remarkable career-high scoring season and multiple playoff appearances, the Blazers were unable to secure an NBA championship with Damian Lillard as their cornerstone. This trade to the Milwaukee Bucks represents a significant shift in the NBA landscape, and fans eagerly await the impact of this move on both teams’ fortunes.