Lillard joining Antetokounmpo at Bucks in blockbuster trade, say reports

The Milwaukee Bucks look like they will have a formidable duo at their disposal with reports they have acquired seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard to play alongside two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Portland Timbers will receive Milwaukee’s 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick, and unprotected Bucks swap rights in 2028 and 2030 as well as Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara. The Phoenix Suns are also part of the deal and will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.

Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA and has spent his entire career with the Trail Blazers. But the 33-year-old had grown frustrated with the team’s lack of success during his time there: they have missed the playoffs for the past two seasons and the furthest they have progressed during his career in Portland is the Western Conference finals in 2019, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors. In July, he formally requested a trade shortly after the Blazers chose another guard, Scoot Henderson, with the No 3 overall pick of this year’s draft.

There had been some speculation over Antetokounmpo’s future too. He was the NBA finals MVP in 2021, when he led them to the NBA title but they were beaten in the first round of the playoffs this year and their coach, Mike Budenholzer, was fired shortly afterwards. With the Lillard trade, it appears Antetokounmpo will remain in Milwaukee for the long-term.

Lillard is, by any measure, a dynamic player. He has averaged at least 24 points per game in each of the last eight seasons, and his career average of 25.2 points ranks fourth among active players (with at least 375 games) behind Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and LeBron James. If that list was expanded to all players with no game minimums, Luka Dončić, Zion Williamson and Trae Young would also be ahead of Lillard.

He had a 71-point game this past season against Houston, has 17 games of at least 50 points in his career – two of them in the playoffs – and is a past rookie of the year, teammate of the year and winner of the NBA’s citizenship award. He also won gold with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

The only glaring omission on Lillard’s resume is a championship. With the Bucks, he will hope to change that fact.

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“I would say I want to be remembered for who I was, not as a player, but the principle that I stood on regardless of how successful I was, how major the failure was, the criticism, what people thought I should have did, what people think of me … no matter what was happening, I want to be remembered for who I was,” Lillard said in an interview with former teammate Evan Turner for the Point Forward podcast earlier this year. “I stood tall. I’ve stood tall in every situation and I want to be remembered for that.”