top of page

Damian Lillard traded to Milwaukee Bucks: Trade grades for each team

Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Damian Lillard has finally been traded after a long offseason of rumors but lands with the Milwaukee Bucks rather than the Miami Heat.

It's a three-team deal between the Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns.

Full trade details:

Bucks acquire: Damian Lillard

Blazers acquire: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 first-round pick, a 2028 Bucks first-round pick swap, and a 2030 Bucks first-round pick swap

Suns acquire: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen

With that said, let's break down the trade for each team.

Milwaukee Bucks: A

The Bucks are a huge winner in this trade, as landing Lillard increases their chances of winning a championship. Lillard is a great star to put around Giannis Antetokounmpo due to his shooting and scoring ability.

A few months ago, Antetokounmpo was asked which player in the league he would most like to play with, and his answer was Lillard. They are now teammates and have a great chance of winning the championship.

Lillard is coming off a season where he averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. He shot 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three. Lillard is an elite scorer who will take pressure off Antetokounmpo, especially in the playoffs.

Lillard is one of the best closers in the NBA, which is something the Bucks have been missing. Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the league, but he excels at getting to the rim. At the end of a game, defenses typically force a jump shot.

Lillard shines as a closer and can play that role for Milwaukee. The Bucks have struggled to create shots in the playoffs the last few years, and adding Lillard fixes that problem.

Milwaukee still has good players around them, with All-Star Khris Middleton as the third option. They also have an elite rim protector in Brook Lopez, who can space the floor on offense. Bobby Portis will lead the bench unit as a quality offensive big man. With the Bucks' star power and depth, they have a tremendous shot at competing for the title.

The Antetokounmpo-Lillard duo is now one of the best in the league.

Portland Trail Blazers: B+

The Blazers have finally traded away their longtime star, Lillard. Lillard has been in trade rumors all offseason with the expectation that he would be sent to the Miami Heat.

However, Portland held out to find the best deal, and it was well worth the wait. The Blazers received a haul in return, including Ayton, who has the potential to be an All-Star center. They also received a young player in Toumani Camara, a first-round pick, and pick swaps.

Portland also acquired Holiday, but they are actively shopping Holiday to a contending team. The Blazers now have an exciting young core of Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, and Deandre Ayton.

This trade is good but could turn into great depending on the value they get in return for Holiday. As it stands, it's a good trade, but there's potential for it to become better.

They will look to add more to their core by flipping Holiday.

This trade gave the Blazers good pieces, and they have a great young core to build on.

Phoenix Suns: B+

The Suns are an underrated winner in this trade. While they gave up Ayton, they added depth to put around their big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal.

Phoenix got a solid center to replace Ayton with Jusuf Nurkic, who averaged 13.1 points and 9.1 rebounds last season. The concern with Nurkic is his health, as he has dealt with many injuries in his career. If he can stay on the floor, he will be a quality starter for the Suns.

They also acquired Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen.

Allen is a proven role player who can play great defense and space the floor with his three-point shot. Little is a quality defender who has been an inconsistent offensive player. However, he did improve on the offensive end last season, and with Phoenix's scoring talent, his defense is a nice addition.

Johnson is a young guard who can play well on the defensive side of the ball. His offense has yet to develop, and he likely won't have a huge role in Phoenix. However, he could develop with them and get spot minutes as a defender.

This trade massively improves the depth around the Suns' big three, and they will be title contenders this season.

Final Takeaways

A trade is rarely great for all teams involved, but this is one of those times. The Bucks solidify themselves as one of the best teams in the league by pairing Antetokounmpo with an elite scorer in Lillard. The Blazers improve their young core and have a bright future, and the Suns improve their depth around their big three.

The real loser of this deal is the Miami Heat, who have waited all offseason to get a Lillard deal done. They are now left in the dust and may not have enough to win a championship despite making it to the NBA Finals last season.

Heat star Jimmy Butler released a video claiming the Bucks tampered to get this trade done. He is clearly not happy that Lillard landed with Milwaukee. Butler may have been joking in the video, but the NBA will likely investigate, and if the Bucks did tamper, they will be punished severely by the league.

Nevertheless, the Bucks, Blazers, and Suns should be happy with the outcome of this trade.


bottom of page