For now, the Bucks see Lillard as a vital component of their championship run. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the All-Star combine to form a club that should be among the title favorites on the shortlist. The agreement was reached weeks after Antetokounmpo, who will be free agent in 2025, made some enigmatic remarks regarding his long-term future in Milwaukee.
Lillard will finally get to see if the grass is, in fact, greener on the other side after years of fighting back against it. The Bucks may suffer serious repercussions if that turns out to be the case. The Portland heyday of Damian Lillard is ended.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Trail Blazers have agreed to trade their future Hall of Fame guard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal that also includes the Phoenix Suns.
Lillard played his first 11 seasons in Portland, where he established himself as a symbol of the team and refused to chase bigger championships in an effort to salvage the situation.
It didn't happen.
The Blazers were a postseason also-ran until making an unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. Portland dropped five games in four different first-round playoff series, or was swept. The team had consecutive lottery seasons to cap off the Lillard era.
Lillard always stated he was willing to "die" on the hill of staying in Portland for the duration of his career, despite almost regular rumors that he would ask for a trade.
"I look out there and I see my jersey everywhere, to be able to give that experience to people on a consistent basis for years and years and years," Lillard said to ESPN's Baxter Holmes. "The affection is still there. [An opposite of, 'Oh, we loved Dame throughout his first six years.'] It's been more than ten years, and I still see my jersey there frequently. "What more can I offer, besides winning a championship?"
When the Blazers secured the third pick in the lottery this summer, significant changes occurred. While Portland considered trading that pick for an established player who could complement Lillard, no trade came together, and the Blazers chose Scoot Henderson, who is a clear long-term replacement for Lillard.
Before the 2023 free-agency period began, Lillard met with Blazers brass to give the franchise one last chance to show that they are serious about winning and improving. After Portland didn't make a significant impression in the first few hours of free agency, Lillard told the Blazers he was interested in a trade.
Portland general manager Joe Cronin released a statement on July 1st, saying, "We have been clear that we want Dame here but he notified us today he wants out and he'd prefer to play someplace else." "We're still committed to winning, and we'll do whatever is best for the team to achieve that goal," the team stated.