(Photo credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
The Milwaukee Bucks acquired seven-time All-Star guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a three-team trade on Wednesday.
The Trail Blazers, who confirmed the deal Wednesday night, are picking up guard Jrue Holiday, center Deandre Ayton, rookie forward Toumani Camara, Milwaukee's unprotected first-round pick in 2029 and swap rights with the Bucks on first-round picks in 2028 and 2030.
The Phoenix Suns, in turn, are acquiring center Jusuf Nurkic, guard Grayson Allen, small forward Nassir Little and guard Keon Johnson.
Lillard, 33, has played his entire 11-year career with Portland, which selected him with the sixth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Now, Lillard will join forces with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.
"The casuals won't be addressed but the trailblazers 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!"
Lillard won't have long to wait to face his former team. The Trail Blazers visit Milwaukee on Nov. 26, and the teams will reconvene in Portland on Jan. 31.
Lillard averaged a franchise-record 32.2 points per game in 2022-23, the third-highest clip in the league, but the Trail Blazers finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
Named one of the NBA's 75 greatest players of all-time in 2021, Lillard won Rookie of the Year honors in 2012-13 and has made All-NBA teams seven times. He is Portland's career leader in points (19,376) and 3-point field goals (2,387).
"On behalf of the entire Portland Trail Blazers organization, I want to express my gratitude to Damian for 11 storied years with this franchise and for his loyalty to the Portland community," general manager Joe Cronin said in a statement from the team. "From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city."
While Lillard is on his way to Milwaukee, multiple media outlets reported the Trail Blazers are expected to immediately begin trade talks to move Holiday to a contending team. Portland reportedly is committed to its young group of guards.
Holiday, 33, has a $36.8 million cap hit in the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $134,997,333 contract with a player option for 2024-25.
Holiday averaged 19.3 points, 7.4 assists and a career-best 5.1 rebounds in 67 games (65 starts) last season with the Bucks.
Ayton, 25, contributed 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in 67 games (all starts) last season with the Suns. He was selected by Phoenix with the top overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Camara, 23, was selected by Portland in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft out of Dayton.
Nurkic, 29, chipped in 13.3 points and 9.1 rebounds in 52 games (all starts) in 2022-23 with the Trail Blazers.
Allen, 27, averaged 10.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and a career-best 2.3 assists in 72 games (70 starts) last season with the Bucks.
Little, 23, contributed 6.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 54 games (four starts) in 2022-23 with Portland.
Johnson, 21, chipped in 4.7 points and 1.1 rebounds in 40 games off the bench last season with the Trail Blazers.
--Field Level Media