Astonishing Three-Team Trade for Damian Lillard

On Wednesday, September 27, 7-time All-Star player Damian Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks to play alongside two-time MVP award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo in a historic three-team trade deal. This trade comes as a result of Lillard’s trade inquiry this past summer. On July 1, 2023, the acclaimed NBA player requested a trade that would bring an end to his 11-year-long career with the Portland Trail Blazers. The distinguished NBA star initially had his heart set on the Miami Heat when he first submitted this request. This trade was requested in hopes of winning an NBA title, as the Trail Blazers had not made the playoffs since they lost the Western Conference in the first round in 2021. 

While Lillard did not get traded to the Miami Heat as he had initially anticipated, he will now join the Milwaukee Bucks following an intricate deal. This trade has many moving parts, as it incorporates three different NBA teams and various players.

Milwaukee Bucks: receive Damian Lillard 

Portland Trail Blazers: receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Bucks’ 2029 first-round draft pick, and swap rights on the Bucks’ 2028 and 2030 picks

Phoenix Suns: receive Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson

The Milwaukee Bucks will receive Damian Lillard, but in return, they traded Jrue Holiday to the Trail Blazers and Grayson Allen to the Suns. Additionally, the Bucks gave their 2029 first-round pick to Portland, and the team also gave the Trail Blazers swap rights on their 2028 and 2030 picks. The Trail Blazers traded former players Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for former Phoenix Suns players Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara. 

Lillard is now provided with a chance to win an NBA title alongside his new teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo following his trade to the Bucks. In May 2022, the acclaimed NBA player was asked on Twitter who he would pick to help him get into the NBA playoffs and even the finals. Lillard responded with one word and wrote, “Giannis.” While Lillard originally had wanted to be traded to the Miami Heat, this trade to the Bucks seems to grant one of his previous wishes.

This past summer, Giannis mentioned to The New York Times that he wanted to see how dedicated the Bucks were to winning another championship before deciding whether or not he wanted to sign a long-term deal that would have him staying in Milwaukee. The trade of the 7-time All-Star player Damian Lillard to Milwaukee could encourage Antetokounmpo to remain with the team longer, as it shows the team’s dedication in attempting to win another championship. The two-time MVP award winner’s current contract with the Bucks is through the 2024-25 season, meaning that he will have this season and next season to see how the team progressed with the help of Lillard. 

This intricate trade seems to be in the best favour of both Lillard and Antetokounmpo, as the acclaimed players want to play for a team that is dedicated to winning an NBA title. It will be interesting to see how far the Bucks make it this 2023-24 NBA season and whether or not Giannis extends his contract with the team before it ends following the 2024-25 season.

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