Damian Lillard didn’t get his wish to be traded to Miami this summer and he doesn’t want that to be a distraction as his Bucks prepare to face the Heat tonight, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami was Lillard’s first choice when he asked the Trail Blazers for a trade in July, but despite weeks of rumors, the teams were never able to get close to a deal. Now that he’s in Milwaukee, Lillard wants to move past any connection with the Heat.
“I’m not going into (Monday) like, ‘This is the team I was supposed to be playing for,’” Lillard said. “None of that. I know Jimmy (Butler), I know Bam (Adebayo). We’re cool. But I play for the Bucks and I’m not going into it like that’s my former team or we were tied in or nothing like that. It’s just another game.”
Lillard also addressed reports that Adebayo was encouraging him to push for a deal to Miami. Although they became friends during their time with Team USA during the Olympics in 2021, Lillard said Adebayo wasn’t very involved in the process.
“I think on the outside, people made more of it than what was actually taking place,” Lillard said. “It’s not like I was calling him every day or nothing like that. I said what I needed to say to the team that I was on at that time and I went on about my time. I did my training, I spent time with kids and that was it. I’m telling you the real when I say it’s not that deep. Bam was my boy before I asked for a trade, he still is and that was the extent of it.”
There’s more from Milwaukee:
- Heat guard Tyler Herro has “a couple different reasons” to look forward to tonight’s game, Chiang adds in a separate story. Playing in Milwaukee means a homecoming for Herro, but he’s also eager to face Lillard after having his name mentioned in trade rumors all summer. “I’ve never spoken to him,” Herro said. “I probably won’t (talk to him on Monday). We’ll see what happens. I respect his game, for sure. There’s no hate toward him at all. He’s a great player. I’ve been watching him my whole life. So I’m excited to continue to compete against the best.”
- The Bucks were sharp on Thursday in Lillard’s first regular season game with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the results looked much different in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks, observes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Lillard shot just 2-of-12 from the field and committed six turnovers by halftime as the offense appeared out of sorts.
- Wenyen Gabriel, Alex Antetokounmpo and Glenn Robinson III are among the players waived before the start of the season who received invitations to join the Wisconsin Herd, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel. Drew Timme and Jazian Gortman are also on the G League team’s 18-man roster, but Omari Moore isn’t, Owczarski adds (Twitter link). Moore signed an Exhibit 10 contract with Toronto after being waived from his two-way contract by Milwaukee, so the Raptors 905 hold his NBAGL rights.