The Portland Trail Blazers are trading Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks for Deandre Ayton in a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns. In addition to Ayton, Portland is receiving Jrue Holiday, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030.
Phoenix lands Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson. This blockbuster trade is a shocker for a number of NBA fans. Besides the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors were the betting favorites to acquire the seven-time All-Star from Portland, followed by the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.
Prior to the trade, NBA betting sites showed the Milwaukee Bucks with fourth-shortest odds to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks had the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns listed above Milwaukee. Now, the Bucks could very well have second-best odds in the Eastern Conference.
Lillard goes Milwaukee as part of a 3-team deal with Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected MIL 1st, and unprotected MIL swap rights in 2028 and 2030 to Blazers. Phoenix lands Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson. https://t.co/Ge0H91AiIA
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 27, 2023
Other teams that were interested in Lillard included the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves. In August, the Wolves reportedly offered Portland two-time All-NBA center Karl-Anthony Towns and multiple draft picks. However, the Trail Blazers declined the offer.
As for Lillard’s contract, the ex-Trail Blazers star is owed $216.2 million over the next four seasons. The 11-year veteran is slated to earn $45.64 million next season. His salary will climb to $63.2 million by 2026-27.
Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard to Milwaukee Bucks for Deandre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030 in three-team deal with Phoenix Suns
In 58 starts with the Trail Blazers in the 2022-23 season, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 36.3 minutes per game. Moreover, he shot a career-high-tying 46.3% from the floor and 37.1% beyond the arc.
Since Lillard is now with the Bucks, one can only imagine that Giannis Antetokounmpo will likely sign an extension soon. The two-time MVP earned $42.49 million last season and is slated to make $45.64 million in 2023-24.
Antetokounmpo became eligible for a three-year, $173 million extension last Friday. The 2021 NBA champ has spent his entire 10-year career with Milwaukee, and it appears the Bucks are trying to go all in to win another title.
Full trade, per sources:
– Bucks: Damian Lillard
– Blazers: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 first-round Bucks pick and Bucks pick swap
– Suns: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Grayson Allen https://t.co/56I888abMs
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 27, 2023
The Greek Freak was the only player in 2022-23 to be named unanimous All-NBA First Team. He also became the first player over the last 50 years to receive this honor by a unanimous vote in five straight seasons. The forward received all 100 first-place votes.
With Damian Lillard and Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have the potential to challenge the Celtics in the East. Although Milwaukee finished 58-24 and at the top of the East standings last season, the contender was upset by the No. 8-seeded Miami Heat in five games of its first-round playoff series.