As part of a three-team transaction that also involved the Phoenix Suns, the Portland Trail Blazers sent guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will team up with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the teams said on Wednesday.
According to the teams’ press release, Portland will receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Milwaukee’s unprotected first-round draft pick in 2029, as well as unprotected Milwaukee exchange rights in 2028 and 2030.
Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson are all acquired by the Suns as part of the deal package.
According to sources speaking to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers are still working on deals with other teams and will get started on trade negotiations with contending clubs as soon as the holiday season arrives.
After Lillard officially asked to be dealt in early July, the Blazers chose to be patient and reach a deal months later.
After 11 seasons with Portland, Lillard leaves the team after being selected to seven All-Star and All-NBA teams, leading the team to the playoffs eight times, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2018–19. He is the team’s all-time leader in points, 3-pointers, and assists.
On Wednesday, he declared on X that he was “eager” for the following chapter.
Lillard, 33, had a breakthrough season last year, averaging 32.2 points and 7.3 assists, but he only participated in 58 games due to missing the last month of the campaign. Lillard’s 71-point performance on February 26 against the Houston Rockets was the high point of his season.
In a joint statement, Bucks president Peter Feigin and general manager Jon Horst declared that “this is an exciting day for Milwaukee.” “When the opportunity arises to combine one of the best NBA players with a group that is extremely versatile and has great expectations, you take it. And we’re excited to welcome Damian Lillard, a seven-time All-Star, to the Bucks.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information analysis, Lillard averages 32.2 points per game, which is the most by a player to switch teams the following season.
Despite Lillard’s statistics, Portland missed the playoffs for the second straight year, which was a first in his career. In each of the two seasons, the Blazers decided to keep their draft pick, most recently selecting guard Scoot Henderson with the No. 2 overall pick. Soon after, Lillard requested a trade.
With the transaction, the Bucks became the overwhelming favorites to win the NBA championship, with odds of roughly 4-1 at American sportsbooks. Milwaukee had been listed as the fourth favorite, after the Suns, the Boston Celtics, and the defending champion Denver Nuggets.
After the Damian Lillard news, the Bucks become the NBA title favorites.
After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed they would be acquiring superstar guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team blockbuster deal that upended the odds at U.S. sportsbooks, the Milwaukee Bucks became the undisputed betting favorite to win the NBA championship on Wednesday.
The Denver Nuggets, who were the defending champions, were passed by the Bucks to take the top spot in Caesars Sportsbook’s odds for the championship. Once the transaction was announced on Wednesday afternoon, Milwaukee was trading at +375. The Boston Celtics (+500) and Phoenix Suns (+550) were in front of the Denver Nuggets (+425). At Caesars, no other teams had title chances in the single digits.
According to sources cited by Wojnarowski, Portland will acquire Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Milwaukee’s unprotected first-round draft pick in 2029, as well as unprotected Milwaukee trade rights in 2028 and 2030.
Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson will join the Suns, according to sources spoke to by Wojnarowski.
Before the agreement, some sportsbooks had the Bucks listed as long as +850, behind the Nuggets, Celtics, and Suns. Milwaukee had received the fifth-highest number of wagers to win the NBA championship at DraftKings, trailing only Miami Heat, Denver, Boston, and Phoenix.
The betting interest in the Bucks this offseason has been limited, according to Jeff Sherman, a veteran bookmaker in Las Vegas who manages the NBA odds for the SuperBook. He also claimed that they did not see any spike in interest before Wednesday’s news.
No liability [on the Bucks], not much attention, and we didn’t experience any negative effects today as the word spread, according to Sherman.
Sherman changed the Milwaukee Bucks’ season win total from 52.5 to 55.5 and changed the Milwaukee Bucks’ point differential from -3 to -4.5 for their Christmas Day matchup against the New York Knicks.
The Heat’s title chances increased from 6-1 to 25-1 on Wednesday at Caesars Sportsbook; they were among the favorites to sign Lillard.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Clippers reported to camp “totally healthy”
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, two key members of the LA Clippers, will report to training camp in Hawaii next week “completely healthy,” according to Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations.
Before being sidelined with a torn right meniscus, Leonard participated in the first two games of the Clippers’ first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns. He had a meniscus repair operation on June 6. George missed the first round due to a right knee sprain, but he is now fully recovered.
At the team facilities on Wednesday, Frank stated that “both are in excellent health.” “Both of them, in my opinion, had incredibly fruitful offseasons, and it goes without saying that our two finest players are fully committed to doing extraordinary things for the Clippers. They both exhibit it in their acts, therefore I believe we are really happy that they are both healthy and will be active camp participants.”
Frank added that talks about contract extensions have taken place with the two Clippers franchise players. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, both stars, who grew up close to Los Angeles and wanted to play here, have $48 million player options for the 2024–25 season and are qualified to sign four–year contracts worth up to $223 million apiece.