Bucks favorites to win NBA title after landing Lillard
The Damian Lillard trade saga is officially over, and it ended with a shocking conclusion. After a week of rumors and rumblings, Lillard was traded to the Bucks on Wednesday afternoon, pairing him with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The three-team trade sends Bucks guard Jrue Holiday to the Trail Blazers, along with Suns players Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara. The Suns get Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson.
Following the trade, the Bucks jumped the Celtics and Nuggets as favorites to win the NBA Finals - and for good reason. The Bucks added a superstar point guard in Lillard, who's coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game on 46.3% shooting, tied for a career best.
The Bucks are also the favorites to win the Eastern Conference (+165). Milwaukee's regular-season win total increased by three games to 55.5.
NBA championship odds
Odds via theScore Bet.
Antetokounmpo and Lillard have publicly floated the idea of teaming up in recent years. Now, it's a reality.
The two-time MVP commands an absurd amount of attention around the basket, which will only open up more looks for Lillard, who shot 45% on catch-and-shoot threes last year.
They are two of the best isolation players in the league. Antetokounmpo also plays a ton of point forward, which could allow Lillard to play certain possessions off the ball.
Not to mention, Lillard and Antetokounmpo will make for an unstoppable pick-and-roll combination. Lillard scored 1.13 points per possession as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll last season, which ranked in the 93rd percentile.
Lillard and Antetokounmpo are poised to be a lethal duo. While losing the defensive presence of Holiday is significant, he isn't in the same stratosphere as a scorer as Lillard. The Bucks did lose notable role players but kept Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, two major - albeit now aging - parts of their 2021 championship team.
This is the first time Lillard will have a chance to truly contend for an NBA championship. Lillard insisted he wanted to be traded to the Heat, but with four years left on his deal, it's safe to say Lillard will be joyous to call Milwaukee home and Antetokounmpo a teammate.
The Suns' odds remain unchanged as the fourth favorites to win the title. theScore Bet is offering a special for both Lillard and Antetokounmpo to average at least 30 points per game this season. The odds are +250 ($10 to win $25). Both players averaged over 30 last season.
Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @soshtry for more betting coverage.