Damian Lillard traded by Blazers to Bucks in 3-team deal involving Suns: Sources | ET REALITY

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By Shams Charania, Eric Nehm, Doug Haller, Jason Quick, William Guillory

The Portland Trail Blazers are trading All-NBA guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal, league sources say. The Athletic.

The full trade involves the Blazers receiving Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, the Bucks’ 2029 first-round pick and the Bucks’ draft trades in 2028 and 2030. The Suns will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Nassar Little, Keon Johnson and Grayson Allen.

The blockbuster deal has a ripple effect that will be felt across the league, including other teams that had been viewed as potential destinations for Lillard. The Miami Heat had long been believed to be the most likely destination for Lillard, and the NBA superstar made it known that it was his preferred destination. In recent days, reports had surfaced that the Toronto Raptors could end up with Lillard.

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In Milwaukee, Lillard will join forces with one of the best players in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo, making the Bucks instant title favorites. For Portland, it’s the end of an era that began in 2012, when Lillard was selected with the sixth overall pick in that summer’s draft.

Lillard was the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year, a six-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA selection and was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during 11 seasons with the Blazers.

Lillard’s reaction

End of an era in Portland

It will be a day that will live in infamy for the Trail Blazers franchise as perhaps their best player has been traded, but this is a nice haul for Portland and marks a promising direction for the future. The Blazers’ core is young and dynamic, with key players Scoot Henderson (19), Shaedon Sharpe (20), Anfernee Simons (24) and Deandre Ayton (25) still in their formative years, with Matisse Thybulle (26) and Jerami Grant (29) as veteran leaders. With a full commitment to Henderson at point guard, the Blazers will likely try to turn Jrue Holiday into an asset, improving the depth and quality of the roster. This will always be a bitter day for Blazers fans, as Lillard was beloved, but he has finally set a new and final course in Portland. β€” Fast

How Lillard boosts the Bucks

For the Bucks, Lillard represents a major change for the fences. The seven-time All-NBA point guard will immediately become the best player that two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has shared the court with and will immediately form the most dangerous duo in the Eastern Conference. Lillard just put together a third-team All-NBA season, where he showed that he can still perform at an elite level with 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game.

The Bucks now have two of the league’s six players who scored at least 30 points per game last season. Add in three-time All-Star Khris Middleton and Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Brook Lopez, and the Bucks simply put themselves in position to be the favorite in the East. β€” nehm

How will Lillard adapt in Milwaukee?

As for how this will work on the ground, everything should go pretty well. The Bucks traded their starting point guard to get Lillard, so he only needs to take Holiday’s place in the starting lineup. The addition of him will immediately add a new dimension to everything the Bucks do offensively.

While teams have long challenged the Bucks’ point guards to score in the pick-and-roll with Antetokounmpo, Lillard may not be allowed such opportunities. Despite never playing together, Antetokounmpo and Lillard could end up becoming the most dangerous pick-and-roll duo in the league overnight. β€”Nehm

Why the Suns moved on from Ayton

Deandre Ayton has been the most talked about athlete in Phoenix for most of his time in the desert. The great man’s talent has always been evident. He has size, athletic ability and shooting touch. What it lacked was a strong and consistent engine. Some nights, Ayton’s skills were intoxicating, but he too often left everyone wanting more. Following his introduction, new coach Frank Vogel said he hoped to “restore” Ayton to an All-Star level. While it would have been nice to see how Vogel’s defensive approach impacted Ayton, it’s no surprise that the organization was ready to move on. Entering his sixth season, Ayton, who will earn $32 million this season, is who he is. Jusuf Nurkic may not be as talented (and at 29, he’s also four years older than Ayton), but he could be a better (and cheaper) fit alongside Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. β€” haller

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And now what happens with the Heat?

It seemed like the Miami Heat were set on bringing in Damian Lillard this offseason, and losing him left them in a precarious position. While Miami was able to muster the full force of the Heat Culture and make a historic run to the NBA Finals last season, this Heat roster in its current state does not appear to be built to repeat as Eastern Conference Champions. While Tyler Herro is back after missing most of last year’s playoffs, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent left in free agency this summer. Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry are also a year older. With Dame, the Heat would have been one of the favorites to win an NBA title. Without it, the future seems very uncertain. β€” Guillory

Background

Lillard issued his trade request in early July after the Blazers failed to make the postseason for the second consecutive season. The timing of his request aligned with the team’s decision to keep its No. 3 draft pick and select Scoot Henderson rather than trade the pick for help from proven veterans.

In late July, the NBA issued a memo to all 30 teams in response to comments from Lillard and his agent Aaron Goodwin about Lillard’s stance that he only wanted to play for the Miami Heat. The league informed Lillard and Goodwin that any future comments “suggesting that Lillard will not fully perform the services required under his player contract in the event of a trade” will be subject to discipline, as will any similar comments by players or agents in the future. .

Since being drafted by Portland in 2012, Lillard has led the team to eight playoff appearances, but the Blazers have only advanced beyond the second round once. He averaged at least 30 points per game twice in that span and was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.

It leaves the Blazers with the most points scored in franchise history.

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(Photo: Sam Forencich/NBE via Getty Images)


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