The Milwaukee Bucks showed superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo they are serious about doing whatever it takes to build a championship team when they acquired Damian Lillard.
He comes to Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Portland Trailblazers get Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee’s 2029 unprotected 1st-round draft pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030. The Blazers also receive Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns.
The Bucks are sending Grayson Allen to the Suns and Portland is shipping off Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson to Phoenix.
Lillard demanded a trade in the offseason. Dame was hoping to go to Miami, but now he is on his way to Milwaukee to be paired up with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
This trade is proof the front office is willing to do whatever it takes to make Giannis happy.
Antetokounmpo made headlines this offseason when he said he would not sign a contract extension. He also hinted he might leave Milwaukee when his contract is up if the team was not committed to keeping the franchise a title contender.
Adding a star of Lillard’s caliber is a sign from general manager Jon Horst that he will pull off the deals to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in championship contention.
Lillard is 33 but his game has not shown any signs of decline. While Holiday is the better defender, Lillard is the better scorer and ball distributor.
It helps that Dame Time always wanted to play with Giannis.
The deal also makes the Bucks one of the best rosters in the NBA.
This also keeps Lillard from joining the Miami Heat who eliminated the Bucks from the playoffs last season.
On top of that, Horst did not have to give up young players like MarJon Beauchamp or A.J. Green. These are youngsters the team wants to develop into at least solid role players down the road.
They will need to develop younger players to help in the future as this roster ages and the franchise will not have a lot of draft picks to infuse young talent.
The deal mortgages more of the future as Milwaukee no longer controls any of its first-round picks for the rest of the decade. That is going to make future trades harder, but if the team wins a couple more titles, it will not matter.
In addition, the depth at point guard is razor-thin behind Lillard. The Milwaukee Bucks now have an open roster spot to add a veteran free agent to back up Dame.