Blazers trade Lillard to Bucks in 3-team blockbuster with Suns
The Portland Trail Blazers are trading superstar Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal that includes the Phoenix Suns, the Blazers announced Wednesday.
Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, and Toumani Camara are going to the Blazers, along with an unprotected Bucks first-round pick in 2029 and unprotected Bucks pick swaps in 2028 and 2030. Meanwhile, the Suns landed Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson.
"On behalf of the entire Portland Trail Blazers organization, I want to express my gratitude to Damian for 11 storied years with this franchise and for his loyalty to the Portland community," said Blazers general manager Joe Cronin in a statement. "From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city."
Lillard first reportedly requested a trade July 1. The 32-year-old spent 11 seasons in Portland after the franchise drafted him No. 6 overall in 2012.
With the move to Milwaukee, Lillard teams up with two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo. He'll provide all-world floor spacing next to the dominant interior presence of the Greek Freak, and the duo will immediately rank as a top pick-and-roll pair in the Association.
Lillard appeared to confirm the trade Wednesday afternoon on social media.
A seven-time All-Star, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points last season, along with 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He's the Blazers' all-time franchise leading scorer.
The Bucks will visit the Blazers on Jan. 31.
Lillard reportedly specifically asked to be dealt to the Miami Heat, but Blazers general manager Joe Cronin repeatedly said he'd explore all options to get the best possible return. Portland didn't re-engage with Miami before accepting the Bucks' deal, a source told the Miami Herald's Anthony Chiang.
The Blazers receive a top-tier reclamation project in Ayton, who was selected No. 1 in 2018 over Luka Doncic and Trae Young, among other players. Ayton flashed his superstar potential at times in Phoenix and will be the building block in the frontcourt next to an exciting young backcourt duo of Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe.
The Bucks parted ways with Holiday, the starting point guard from their championship-winning team in 2021. The Blazers could keep Holiday as a veteran presence or ship him to a playoff contender during the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, the Suns swap Ayton for Nurkic, a better rebounder and passer than his predecessor. He'll play a vital role next to the newly formed Big Three of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal.