Damian Lillard was finally traded Wednesday, but his landing spot shocked the NBA world.
The Portland Trail Blazers dealt Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns. Lillard will get to team up with Giannis Antetokounmpo, which has made Milwaukee the favorite to win the NBA title this season.
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
Excited for my next chapter! @Bucks 🎟️
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) September 27, 2023
The Suns landed Jusuf Nurkić, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson in the trade. The Trail Blazers received Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara and Jrue Holiday, though Holiday is expected to be moved again in the near future. Portland also received a 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick from Milwaukee and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030.
Lillard had spent his entire career with the Trail Blazers and leaves as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. With Portland, he made it to the playoffs eight times and the Western Conference finals once but never won a title. He requested a trade on the second day of free agency earlier this offseason and made it clear that the Miami Heat were the only team he wanted to play for. That sparked a complicated and messy several weeks, with his representatives even trying to scare off other teams by saying he would be unhappy playing anywhere but Miami.
Clearly, Lillard's wish to play in Miami didn’t happen. That left Heat star Jimmy Butler pretty upset on social media Wednesday.
“Yo NBA, man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Butler said in an Instagram story. “You do. I’m just going to put that out there.”
Jimmy Butler responds to Dame being traded to the Bucks 👀
(via jimmybutler/IG) pic.twitter.com/i9Hm0MApQ6
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 27, 2023
It’s unclear how serious Butler is on that front or what information he's claiming to know.
The potential trade packages that would've sent Lillard to Miami frequently revolved around Tyler Herro, who is starting a four-year, $120 million extension. The Trail Blazers reportedly wanted more in return for their seven-time All Star than the Heat were willing to offer, however, and for a long time, the Heat were the only real team engaging. The two sides went into a holding pattern until Wednesday’s deal came to fruition.
Butler was far from the only NBA star to take to social media after the news broke.
— Maurice Harkless (@moe_harkless) September 27, 2023
This is type crazy
The potential dominance 🤯 https://t.co/1VjzsIhqus
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) September 27, 2023
Lillard had a few old posts that resurfaced about the Bucks, too, because there’s always a tweet.
We can talk but money talk so talk more bucks!
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 2, 2013
The Bucks will open the season Oct. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers.