The Damian Lillard news that we’ve been waiting for all offseason finally broke on Wednesday afternoon, as the Bucks reached an agreement to acquire the star guard from Portland in a three-team deal that will send former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton to the Trail Blazers.
Lillard and agent Aaron Goodwin made it clear shortly after Dame asked to be traded that the 33-year-old only wanted to be dealt to Miami. Instead, he’ll end up in Milwaukee, joining one of the Heat’s biggest Eastern Conference rivals. In his first public statement since news of the deal broke, Lillard said goodbye to Portland and seemingly put to rest any speculation that he would decline to report to his new team.
“The casuals won’t be addressed but the Trail Blazers fans and city of Portland that I love truly will be … and they will be addressed truthfully. Stay tuned,” Lillard wrote on Twitter. “Excited for my next chapter! @Bucks.”
Here’s more on the Lillard trade:
- The Trail Blazers didn’t re-engage with the Heat prior to accepting the Bucks’ offer on Wednesday, a league source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). According to Chiang, the communication between Miami and Portland this offseason was pretty limited, and the Heat only learned about the trade when Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news.
- According to Chiang (Twitter link), Goodwin put out a statement today on the Heat‘s pursuit of his client: “They did everything they could to acquire Dame. It takes two to get a deal done. I appreciate all that Pat (Riley), Andy (Elisburg) and Micky (Arison) did to try and make this happen.”
- With Jrue Holiday expected to remain very available for trade after being sent to Portland, the Sixers will be among the teams with interest in acquiring him, reports Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). If the 76ers were to land Holiday, I imagine it would be in a multi-team deal involving James Harden, though that’s just my speculation.
- Holiday also seems to fit the mold of the type of player the Heat would covet, Chiang notes (via Twitter), though he acknowledges that the veteran guard’s market could be “robust.”
- No longer having Deandre Ayton‘s long-term, maximum-salary contract on their books is considered a positive for the Suns, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Rankin adds that new Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic is viewed as a good team player who buys into his role, is loved by teammates, and can help the Suns with his passing.
- Shortly after the news of Lillard’s trade to Milwaukee broke, Heat star Jimmy Butler took to Instagram to send a message to the league, as ClutchPoints relays (Twitter video link). “Yo NBA, man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Butler said. “Y’all do. I’m just going to put that out there. Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it through somebody, y’all look at them for tampering.”
- The Bucks‘ and Suns‘ championship betting odds both increased as a result of today’s trade news, per Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com (Twitter link). Kennedy says that one sportsbook has moved Milwaukee from +700 to +370 and Phoenix from +800 to +600.
- As Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report observes (via Twitter), Lillard’s move to Milwaukee will reunite him with his former coach. The Bucks hired Terry Stotts this offseason as Adrian Griffin‘s lead assistant. Stotts was Portland’s head coach from 2012-21.