Jon Horst

Bucks Deny Pistons Permission To Interview Jon Horst

The Pistons’ search for a new team president of basketball operations may have to go back to the drawing board.

In his latest Substack column, Marc Stein cites sources who say that the Bucks refused to allow Detroit to interview Jon Horst, despite a belief that Milwaukee’s team president was open to a conversation.

Horst was honored as the league’s Executive of the Year in 2018/19 and helped guide the Bucks to their first championship after a 50-year drought in 2021. Horst inked a long-term extension with the club that fall. Most recently, he helped orchestrate the team’s deal to acquire All-Star point guard Damian Lillard last offseason, while also re-signing aging veterans Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez to lucrative new deals.

Milwaukee underwent a tumultuous 2023/24 season. Horst hired and fired first-time head coach Adrian Griffin to lead the team’s Lillard-Giannis Antetokounmpo superstar tandem and brought in his replacement, Doc Rivers. With Jrue Holiday gone, the team’s perimeter defense fell off, though Rivers helped stabilize it somewhat when he took over. Ultimately, the Bucks finished with a 49-33 record and the East’s No. 3 seed. Lillard and Antetokounmpo were felled by injuries, and Milwaukee was upset in its first round series against the sixth-seeded Pacers.

Horst is a Michigan native whose work in the NBA began with the Pistons, so it would make sense for him to be intrigued by the opportunity to run Detroit’s front office. Conversely, it’s not a huge surprise that the Bucks wouldn’t want their top front office decision maker — who has been the architect for much of their recent success with Antetokounmpo — to be poached by a direct Central Division rival.

The Pistons, who are demoting but retaining general manager Troy Weaver, have also been linked to Mavericks consultant Dennis Lindsey and former Knicks general manager Scott Perry. Stein has previously noted that Timberwolves president Tim Connelly is viewed as a potential target if he were to opt out of his current contract, agreed to when Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore were expected to become Minnesota’s majority owners.

Detroit is coming off one of its worst seasons ever, having finished with a league-worst 14-68 record during their first year under head coach Monty Williams. Though Detroit was no doubt hoping to earn the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft thanks to its miserable 2023/24 run, the team instead fell in Sunday’s draft lottery, and will now pick fifth.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Horst, Butler, Sixers, Hornets, Nets, More

Now that the Bucks‘ season has come to an end, the Pistons are expected to formally seek permission to interview Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst for their president of basketball operations job soon, Marc Stein reports in his latest story at Substack. According to Stein, it’s not yet known whether the Bucks will grant Detroit permission to meet with Horst, a Michigan native who began his NBA career in the Pistons’ basketball operations department.

Elsewhere in his Substack article, Stein says that Jimmy Butler‘s future has become an “increasingly hot topic” around the NBA following the Heat‘s first-round playoff exit. Multiple rival teams have wondered if the Sixers will make a run at trading for Butler this offseason in an effort to reunite the star swingman with good friend Joel Embiid, per Stein. The Embiid/Butler 76ers took the eventual-champion Raptors down to the wire in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2019, but were broken up less than two months later when Butler was signed-and-traded to Miami.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Several executives around the NBA thought the Hornets would have concluded their head coaching search by now, but the team is taking a “very methodical” approach to the process and there’s no specific timeline to make a hire, Rod Boone writes in a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer. Boone’s mailbag also explores Charlotte’s draft strategy and how to revitalize the team’s brand, among other topics.
  • How much of a difference could it make for the Nets to have a healthy Ben Simmons and Dariq Whitehead next season? Net Income of Nets Daily explores that subject, citing league insiders who say Brooklyn has no plans to waive Simmons this offseason.
  • With Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby set to square off in the second round of the playoffs as members of the Pacers and Knicks, respectively, the Raptors will “catch some sass” for trading away both players this season, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Given how well the two forwards have played alongside backcourt stars – Tyrese Haliburton in Indiana and Jalen Brunson in New York – Koreen wonders if things went wrong in Toronto because the club couldn’t find the right “dynamic” guard to allow Siakam and Anunoby to play their proper roles.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic previews next week’s draft combine from a Pistons perspective, identifying the players the club will have its eye on in the top five and naming a few prospects who could make sense at No. 53. Edwards views Alexandre Sarr as the player likeliest to be atop Detroit’s board, with Stephon Castle, Cody Williams, Donovan Clingan, and Matas Buzelis in the next tier.

Tim Connelly Among Potential Targets For Pistons’ President Opening

The Pistons would be interested in Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly if Connelly exercises the opt-out clause in his contract with Minnesota at the end of the season, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post.

The dispute between current Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore could cause Connelly to weigh his future in Minnesota. Connelly signed a five-year, $40MM contract with the organization in 2022. The Pistons announced after their season ended that they would hire a president of basketball operations.

Here’s more info on the Pistons’ search for a new president, via Stein:

  • Detroit’s search is expected to ramp up during the second and third rounds of the playoffs, when more potential candidates will be available for interviews. Stein confirms that Bucks general manager – and former Pistons employee – Jon Horst will be a candidate if he is willing to move on from Milwaukee.
  • Mavericks consultant and former Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey is another name to watch for the basketball ops position, per Stein.
  • J.J. Redick, a candidate for the Hornets’ coaching vacancy, could get an interview if he’s interested in a front office job, Stein says. Pistons chairman Arn Tellem represented Redick in his days as a player agent.
  • The new president of basketball operations will have the ability to decide whether current GM Troy Weaver will remain in his position, be reassigned to a different front office role, or get cut loose, according to Stein. The new exec will also determine whether head coach Monty Williams, who just completed the first year of a six-year contract worth nearly $80MM, will remain in his position.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Lillard, Portis, Middleton, Horst

Trailing 3-1 in their series with Indiana, the Bucks‘ best hope for a comeback rests with the return of injured stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, writes Jim Owczarski of The Journal Sentinel. Both players sat out Sunday’s loss, but neither has been ruled out for the series, which resumes Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo, who has been sidelined since suffering a calf strain April 9, has been listed as doubtful for the first four games. However, there’s cause for optimism after the former MVP completed an intense workout Sunday morning.

“It went well,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He moved, he shot, he’s running now with no resistance. So those are all very good signs.” Rivers said he’s “optimistic” about Antetokounmpo’s chances to return at some point, adding, “Like I think there’s a chance for him to play in this series. I really do.”

Lillard aggravated his right Achilles tendon late in Game 3. He wore a walking boot for Saturday’s film session, but didn’t have it on as he sat on the bench for Sunday’s contest. He was officially listed as out with tendinitis in the Achilles tendon.

“Not shutting him down,” Rivers said. “That’s a fact. I can say that much for sure.”

There is “obviously pessimism” about the status of both players with a quick turnaround for Game 5, Shams Charania said this morning on Run It Back (video link).

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Milwaukee lost an important part of its rotation on Sunday when Bobby Portis was ejected seven minutes into the game for an altercation with Andrew Nembhard (video link), notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Although Nembhard pulled Portis’ arm, the officials determined during a video review that Portis’ push and open-handed strike were two separate hostile acts, meeting the standard for an ejection. “The emotions got the best of him,” Khris Middleton said. “I thought, for the most part of the year, he’s done a great job flirting with that line and not crossing over it. Tonight, it just crossed over at the worst time for us.”
  • Middleton played 40 minutes on Sunday despite pain in both ankles, Nehm adds. The veteran swingman was dealing with a sprained right ankle entering the game, and he hurt the left one when Myles Turner landed on it during a third quarter collision.
  • Sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer there’s a legitimate chance that general manager Jon Horst will leave the Bucks this summer to become head of basketball operations for the Pistons. Horst wasn’t on board with either of the team’s coaching hirings over the past year, according to O’Connor, as he preferred Nick Nurse when the organization opted for Adrian Griffin to please Antetokounmpo and he pushed for Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson when Rivers was brought in at midseason. O’Connor notes that Horst is a Michigan native who got his first front office job with the Pistons, and he might be more comfortable building a young team than refining Milwaukee’s aging roster.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic looks at the strategic adjustments made by Rivers and Indiana’s Rick Carlisle that have helped to shape the series.

Pistons Notes: FA, Trade Targets, Draft, President, More

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic said the Pistons will likely explore the viability of pursuing Miles Bridges or Tobias Harris in free agency, though he conceded that could change depending who they hire to be the new president of basketball operations.

While he doesn’t expect Detroit to give anyone a long-term, maximum-salary deal, Edwards suggested a short-term deal with a higher annual salary could be an option if the team pursues Bridges or Harris. Edwards also thinks the Pistons will undergo a “significant roster overhaul” this offseason through a combination of trades and free agent signings, with Malik Monk another impending free agent to potentially keep an eye on.

Scotto said the Nets want to keep Nic Claxton on a long-term contract, and Brian Lewis of The New York Post recently told Scotto he believes there’s better than a 50/50 chance the center will remain with Brooklyn. However, Edwards thinks Claxton would fill a major need for Detroit as a rim protector, even though it might push Jalen Duren to a reserve role.

Edwards previously listed five ideas for the new head of basketball operations, and Scotto believes Bucks GM Jon Horst, a Michigan native, is the main name to keep an eye on.

As for the futures of GM Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams, Edwards said he wouldn’t be surprised if neither is back next season, particularly Weaver. Despite being on a lucrative long-term deal, Edwards placed the odds at 60/40 that Williams would not be Detroit’s head coach in 2024/25.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Edwards of The Athletic predicts that, of the veteran free agents Detroit has this offseason, only Simone Fontecchio will be retained. Edwards is convinced of that happening, putting the odds at 100%. He also thinks Fontecchio will receive a four-year deal worth in the range of $56-68MM as a restricted free agent. The Italian forward has said he expects to be back next season.
  • In a mailbag for The Detroit Free Press (subscription required), Omari Sankofa II discusses the Pistons’ basketball operations hierarchy, among other topics. The objective of hiring a president of basketball operations, according to Sankofa’s sources, is to “unify a front office that has clearly hit a significant stump, to say the least, in its ongoing remake of the team.” That person would have full autonomy over who gets hired and fired, Sankofa adds.
  • If the Pistons decide to keep their first-round pick, who should they target? If it lands No. 1 overall, Edwards of The Athletic would select French big man Alexandre Sarr, who played for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL this season. However, if it were up to him, Edwards says he’d trade the pick. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA for the second straight season, Detroit has a 14% chance of landing the top selection and can do no worse than No. 5 overall.

Pistons Seeking President Of Basketball Operations

8:57pm: The Pistons officially announced (via Twitter) that they’re planning to make front office changes and will hire a new head of basketball operations, who would work directly under team owner Tom Gores. Weaver and the current basketball operations executives will remain in their current positions while the search takes place, per the team.

3:05pm: The Pistons have decided they will hire a president of basketball operations, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the search process will begin this week.

Local reporters, including James L. Edwards III of The Athletic and Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press, had been suggesting this would happen. Prior to Charania’s report, Sankofa tweeted that the Pistons were expected to “formalize” their search for a president of basketball operations within the next day or so.

As Sankofa and Edwards have written, it doesn’t sound as if general manager Troy Weaver would be dismissed as a result of this change to the front office. However, it would certainly be a demotion for Weaver, who has functioned as the team’s head of basketball operations since being hired in 2020. Under the new structure, he would report to Detroit’s new president of basketball operations.

According to Sankofa (subscription required), the Pistons would likely want to fortify the front office with other executives who are either below Weaver in the hierarchy or on the same level. If Weaver and the Pistons aren’t on the same page with ownership’s plan to revamp its front office, it’s possible the two sides could go their separate ways, but it doesn’t appear that’s the plan for now.

It has been a dismal four years in Detroit since Weaver was hired away from the Thunder to replace Ed Stefanski atop the Pistons’ basketball operations department. The club hasn’t won more than 23 games in a season during that time, compiling an overall record of 74-244 (.233).

There was some hope entering the 2023/24 season that the team’s young core – including Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson, and Jaden Ivey – might be ready to take a step forward and get the Pistons into the play-in mix. Instead, the team finished dead last in the NBA with a 14-68 mark, setting a new league record for most consecutive losses in a single season (28).

While there have been no concrete reports yet on which candidates might receive consideration for the president of basketball operations position in Detroit, Edwards listed some ideas in his latest article for The Athletic, identifying Jon Horst (Bucks), John Hammond (Magic), Neil Olshey (formerly of the Trail Blazers), Bryson Graham (Pelicans), and Dwane Casey as possible fits.

Marc Stein (Twitter link) confirms that there’s a belief the Pistons will have interest in exploring the viability of hiring Horst away from Milwaukee.

GM Jon Horst Explains Bucks’ Coaching Change

Bucks general manager Jon Horst said the team’s expectations changed after the decision was made to hire Adrian Griffin as head coach, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Horst met with media members before tonight’s game to explain why management believed a coaching change was necessary even though the team was off to a 30-13 start.

Horst noted that when Griffin got the job in early June, the roster was filled with uncertainties, which made having a first-time head coach seem more plausible. Things changed throughout the summer as Milwaukee was able to reach contract agreements with Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and then trade for Damian Lillard, which led to Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s extension. With all those pieces securely in place, the front office felt renewed urgency to get the most of out of its championship window.

“It was a tough job and a great opportunity – both things were true – when we hired Griff,” Horst said. “The dynamics and the things that changed after that I think created even more of an urgency and even more so. These are special opportunities. The talent became even more special. The commitment to the team even more significant. And I think that increased the urgency.

“It’s not because I’m afraid to be wrong. I’ve been wrong many a times. I believe Griff still is a head coach. Guy’s 30-13. It made this such a tough decision. This is an assessment and an evaluation for myself, (team president Peter Feigin) and our ownership group in how do we give this team the best resources to maximize this window. It’s way more about that and way less about what Griff did or didn’t do.”

Horst referenced the awkward situation that can develop when a major move of this type is announced on social media. He met with the players before today’s shootaround to explain the reasons why a coaching change was deemed necessary.

Horst also expressed confidence in interim coach Joe Prunty, noting that he has been in this situation before and is “fully aware” that the organization is in the process of hiring a new head coach. Horst refused to comment on Doc Rivers, who reportedly reached an agreement in principle to take over the team, but indicated that he wants to fill the position as quickly as possible.

“What we’re looking for now is a path to go forward and maximize this group from a leadership perspective, from an experience perspective,” Horst said. “We want to try to bring in a coach that can really take us to the next level where we think we can go with this group. That’s not just about coaching. The players have to be better, they have to improve, my group has to continue figuring out how to improve the roster, but we think coaching is an element for us to get better.”

Horst also addressed the issue of having to pay three head coaches, as Mike Budenholzer had two years remaining on his contract when he was fired in May. Horst admitted that it’s part of the “hard decisions” that go into running a team and credited the owners for their commitment to winning.

Horst expressed confidence that the new head coach can fix the defensive shortcomings – and other issues that developed under Griffin – and put the team in position for a long playoff run.

“Although it’s a condensed period of time calendar-wise I think in the world of the NBA and what in particular our really smart, professional and mature players can do, a great coaching staff around them, I believe that there is enough time for them to find an identity, find a rhythm together and continue to grow,” he said. “So, it may feel shortened but the things that happen in the NBA happen quick all the time and transition happens all the time and I think we’ll be well adapted to it.”

Latest On Bucks’ Coaching Situation

The Bucks have reached out to Doc Rivers to discuss having him take over their head coaching job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms.

As reported earlier in the day, Rivers is the top choice to replace first-year coach Adrian Griffin, who was abruptly fired on Tuesday.

CNN Sports, as relayed by the NBA on TNT, reported on Tuesday night that Rivers had accepted the position (video link). However, that report has yet to be corroborated by other media outlets.

Rivers already has a connection to the Bucks, having informally served as a consultant for Griffin this season at the behest of the club.

Here’s more on the Bucks’ coaching situation:

  • Griffin offered a diplomatic answer to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report regarding his dismissal: “I appreciate the opportunity the Bucks gave me. You can’t control everything,” Griffin said in a phone interview. “I feel good about the job we did. I appreciate my coaching staff for all their hard work. I always wanted to be a head coach in this league. I couldn’t have asked for a better roster. I got to coach Giannis (Antetokounpo), Dame (Lillard), Khris (Middleton), Brook (Lopez). Dream come true. Hopefully, I get another shot at it, but overall, I’m just thankful.”
  • Bucks general manager Jon Horst and assistant GM Milt Newton began closely observing practices and shootarounds in the last 10 days or so, Haynes reports in the same story.  That began raising the eyebrows of the coaching staff and players. If they don’t land Rivers, the Bucks also have Jeff Van Gundy and Nate McMillan on their short list of candidates, Haynes adds.
  • Griffin met with his top four players after the team’s loss to Indiana during the in-season tournament last month and they all spoke about what was working, what wasn’t working and how they could best be utilized. Griffin told the players that sacrifices were required, but bickering in the locker room continued shortly thereafter.
  • Griffin was hired at the endorsement of Antetokounmpo, but that endorsement had more to do with whom the two-time MVP didn’t want as head coach, writes Marc Stein at SubstackNick Nurse was high on the Bucks’ list of candidates before he was hired by the Sixers, according to Stein, who says Antetokounmpo wanted the franchise to go in a different direction and chose to back Griffin. Moving on from Griffin now was a far easier move than finding a difference-making trade, given Milwaukee’s limited assets, Stein adds.
  • When Lillard’s former head coach, Terry Stotts, chose to resign from the Bucks’ staff just prior to the season opener, the reason was that Griffin felt that he was being undermined by Stotts, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Stotts was brought in to mentor Griffin but they clashed on scheme and philosophy.

Bucks Notes: Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Horst, First Game

Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo responded to the team’s all-in push and the acquisition of Damian Lillard by signing a three-year, $186MM contract extension. It’s a quick turnaround for Antetokounmpo who, in August, said he wouldn’t sign a new deal with Milwaukee unless he felt everyone was on the same page as him.

The Bucks’ acquisition of Lillard proved to Antetokounmpo just how serious the franchise was about winning, and it’s the second time in three years general manager Jon Horst directly responded to uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee by pulling off a blockbuster trade, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes.

The last time Horst and the Bucks made such a move in the offseason following a lackluster playoff showing, acquiring Jrue Holiday from New Orleans, Milwaukee won the title. And with rival superstars reaching out to Antetokounmpo, rival teams gearing up for a bidding war for his services, and the Bucks lacking resources to meaningfully improve in free agency, Horst knew he was on the clock to make another big move, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN writes.

Antetokounmpo had no idea Horst and the Bucks were in serious talks for Lillard until the trade happened, both Amick and Shelburne explain. As detailed previously, the Bucks kept everything under wraps so as to not compromise the contending team they already felt they had with Holiday running the point in case things soured. With Milwaukee swinging for the fences, Antetokounmpo made the decision to give more of his prime to the franchise that drafted him in 2013.

The city shows me a lot of love,” Antetokounmpo said. “And also whenever I go out there and have time with my family, they also give me space. When they see me on the street, they give me space. They respect me, who I am as a person, what I’ve done for the city of Milwaukee. And for that, I can’t turn my back. Not now, not in the future, not never. I want to be committed. I want to give back to the city of Milwaukee. We won one championship, but I believe that we can win a second one.

Waiting a year to sign an extension with the Bucks would have given Antetokounmpo to sign for an extra year and $65MM, but with Lillard on board, Horst still sent the franchise player an official offer letter for an extension the first day he was permitted to, Shelburne details. Horst and his team pitched Giannis on the idea of signing a three-year extension now, which would allow him to sign two more maximum extensions before the age-38 rule in the CBA would limit his flexibility.

When we took the long-term view of how this decision gave him the best ability to maximize earnings over the next 10 years, it began to make more sense,” Antetokounmpo’s agent Alex Saratsis said.

We have more from the Bucks:

  • Milwaukee’s decision to trade for Lillard paid immediate dividends in the team’s opener against the Sixers on Thursday. The Bucks’ new point guard dropped 39 points, a team record for most points in a debut game, including the final 11 points scored by the club in the 118-117 victory, ESPN’s Jamal Collier notes. “At the end of the day, he had the hot hand and you’ve got to keep on feeding it. You’ve got to keep going with what works,” Antetokounmpo said.
  • Lillard and Antetokounmpo have had extensive conversations about closing games out, and Lillard gave some insight into those talks following Thursday’s game. “They trust my judgment and they trust me making decisions,” Lillard said via Gabe Stoltz of Brew Hoop (Twitter link). “All the way down to the very last play where I got fouled and I went to the free throw line, they inbounded it to Giannis and I was just kind of reading him like, “What do you want to do?” And he was like “Come get the ball.” … He wanted me to make that final decision. For a player of his level to respect me in that way, it means a lot to me but I think it just shows that his No. 1 priority is to be the best we can be and win games.
  • Lillard delivered the ultimate first impression to his teammates in his 39-point debut, CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney writes. “It was tough man, he was hooping,Cameron Payne said. “It was crazy, we really ain’t got to see that Dame yet. That was our first time seeing him go crazy on our team, because in preseason he was getting trapped. We really didn’t get to see that. But he put on a show tonight. I know he’s gonna keep that going. The boy looked good.

More Details On The Three-Team Lillard Blockbuster

The Bucks were interested in acquiring Damian Lillard immediately after he made his trade request on July 1, but the deal didn’t start to come together until this past Sunday.

As Adrian Wojnarowski writes in an in-depth story for ESPN (Insider link), Bucks general manager Jon Horst told Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin from the outset that their talks had to remain a secret or Milwaukee would withdraw from negotiations.

According to Wojnarowski, Horst didn’t want Jrue Holiday to be involved in any trade rumors, or used as leverage by Cronin with other teams to increase offers for Lillard. The Bucks didn’t want to disrupt their chemistry and hold Holiday in very high regard. That meant Cronin was unable to gauge Holiday’s market value before agreeing to the trade.

As Wojnarowski details, Horst told Cronin that the only way a deal would work is if the Blazers took their time fielding offers and eventually circled back to Milwaukee for one-on-one talks. That started Sunday evening, with both sides feeling like they had reached a breakthrough.

Cronin was determined to say patient and accept the best possible offer, per Woj, and kept details of Lillard negotiations hidden from prying eyes. Lillard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, was determined to steer him to Miami, but Lillard didn’t have much leverage. Wojnarowski strongly suggests Cronin felt the need to keep things private from Goodwin in case he tried to tank trade talks with non-Heat teams.

One of the most fascinating and “delicate” parts of the deal was Phoenix’s involvement. According to Wojnarowski, the Blazers and Suns had the outline of a trade together for months — Deandre Ayton to Portland for Jusuf Nurkic. Cronin wanted to tie that agreement into any Lillard trade, so throughout the offseason he kept circling back to the Suns.

However, as Wojnarowski writes, due to Milwaukee’s insistence on secrecy, Cronin was unable to tell Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein the final details until the last minute. According to Woj, Phoenix knew it was getting Nurkic, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson from the Blazers in a three-team deal, but the Suns wanted another asset in return.

Cronin was unable to tell the Suns who that player was — or who he played for. Cronin did tell the Suns the mystery player’s position and gave an approximation of his salary, and Phoenix was able to deduce it was either Thunder guard Victor Oladipo or Bucks guard Grayson Allen.

Only on Wednesday afternoon — just before the trade was made public — did Cronin confirm that it was Allen, whom the Suns had reportedly been interested in for several months. According to Wojnarowski, Bartelstein, GM James Jones and owner Mat Ishbia quickly discussed and then agreed to the deal.

The Blazers were happy and relieved to have completed the deal, per Woj, and believed they did right by Lillard by sending him to a contender, even if it wasn’t his preferred destination. Shortly thereafter, Cronin was bombarded by calls inquiring about Holiday, who is now the hottest name on the trade block.

Wojnarowki’s full story is definitely worth reading in full if you subscribe to ESPN+.