Damian Lillard will be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal including the Phoenix Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Portland Trail Blazers will receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected Milwaukee first-round pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030 in the deal while Phoenix lands Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.. The move represents a significant surprise for Lillard, who has spent the offseason pushing for a trade to the Miami Heat, specifically. Instead, he lands with the Bucks.
When Lillard initially asked for a trade in July, it quickly became clear that he had his heart set on a single team: the Miami Heat. "Truthfully, he wants to play in Miami. Period," Lillard's agent, Aaron Goodwin, told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson. The stance was so aggressive that the NBA needed to send out a memo to all 30 teams stating that it had "advised Goodwin and Lillard that any future comments, made privately to teams or publicly, suggesting Lillard will not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade will subject Lillard to discipline by the NBA." In the end, the Bucks defied Lillard's wish to land with the Heat and made the trade themselves.
Now the Heat are left to pick up the pieces after an offseason built around a trade they ultimately couldn't make. Miami still has two open roster spots that it was likely holding for the sake of flexibility in a possible deal. The Heat lost key free agents Max Strus and Gabe Vincent in July, and with pretty much every notable free agent off the board, they have no means of replacing them externally. Miami's push for a third Finals trip in five years just grew significantly more difficult.
The Blazers, meanwhile, will finally move on after more than a decade with Lillard as their franchise player. In 11 seasons, Lillard guided the Blazers to the playoffs eight times. They never made it beyond the Western Conference Finals, though, and after two years in the lottery, it was finally time for the two sides to part. Portland will now rebuild around Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe, while Lillard starts the next phase of his career in Milwaukee.
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