By Charles Collier
Bucks GM John Horse orchestrated one the biggest trade in Milwaukee Bucks history. The Bucks acquired Damian Lillard in a 3-team deal. Portland received Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Milwaukee’s 2029 first round pick and two first round pick swaps with Bucks in 2028 and 2030. The Suns received Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson and the Bucks received Damian Lillard. This is a trade that benefits all three teams. The Suns get much needed depth and bench scoring with the addition sharpshooter Grayson Allen. Portland gets draft picks they will need to rebuild around young, expected superstar Scoot Henderson. The Bucks get a gifted offensive player. In 2012, Damian Lillard was unanimously voted NBA Rookie of the Year. He has received seven NBA All-Star and seven All-NBA Team selections. Lillard is nicknamed Dame Time for his big shot making ability in the clutch.
Lillard was named to the prestigious NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
Pairing Lillard with two-time NBA MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo, seems to be a match made in heaven. If healthy, they will form one of the best duos of the last decade. In addition, they will create one of the best of the best pick-n-roll combinations since John Stockton and Karl Malone. Lillard is 33 years old and thus has a few years left to perform in his prime. Expectations are high and the Bucks will have a three-year window to win multiple NBA championships. The Bucks made all the right moves in the off season. Prior to the trade, they re-signed both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. However, Antetokounmpo recently made statements hinting that he may not re-sign with Bucks. The trade for Lillard will keep him in Milwaukee for at least the foreseeable future.
The Blazers are expected to trade Jrue Holiday and are speaking to numerous teams including but not limited to the Clippers, Celtics, Miami and the 76ers. The Heat are a good fit as trading partners with Portland. They can offer Portland a trade package that includes superstar in the making Tyler Herro and a 1st round pick. Milwaukee’s own Tyler Herro attended University of Kentucky for 1 year and was selected 13th overall by the Miami Heat in the 2019 NBA draft. Herro averaged 20 points a game last year and would be a nice addition to Portland.
One of the major keys to the trade was the Buck’s decision to hire Terry Stotts. Terry Stotts the well respected former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trailblazers coached Lillard in Portland for nine seasons. On June 28, 2023, he was hired by the Bucks as an assistant coach, 3 days later Lillard publicly requested a trade. This was not a coincidence. Since July 1st, 2023, the Bucks have been playing chess, while the other NBA teams have been playing marbles.
The oddsmakers have picked the Bucks to win the NBA championship this year. I opine, if heathy the Milwaukee will win their third championship in team history.