Sep 28, 2023 - Sports

Damian Lillard is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks

A photo of Damian Lillard.

He's off to Wisconsin now. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Damian Lillard is no longer a Trail Blazer.

Driving the news: In a blockbuster, three-team swap, Portland's All-Star point guard is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks, ending months of speculation on where he would land after he demanded to be traded during the NBA draft.

Why it matters: The trade marks the end of an era for the Blazers and Lillard's 11-year run with the team as he sets his sights on winning an NBA title — something he didn't think was possible with coach Chauncey Billups' roster.

What's happening: The move, first reported by ESPN and later confirmed by the NBA, also includes Deandre Ayton, center for the Phoenix Suns, and Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday joining the Blazers' lineup.

  • The Blazers will lose center Jusuf Nurkić, small forward Nassir Little and shooting guard Keon Johnson to the Suns.

What he's saying: In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Lillard said he was excited for his next chapter and expressed love for Portland and Blazers fans.

  • "Stay tuned," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the deal will need to be finalized by NBA attorneys before new jerseys are commissioned.

The intrigue: Although he originally wanted to be traded to the Miami Heat, this means Lillard will now be playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP power forward who helped bring the Bucks a championship in 2021.

  • Earlier this summer, Antetokounmpo signaled that he was looking for a sign from Bucks management on whether or not the team remained committed to winning before signing a long-term contract.

What we're watching: Coach Billups bet big when he selected Scoot Henderson as the third pick in the first round of the NBA draft, so now we'll see how the Blazers' relatively young team fares without Lillard at the helm.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Scoot Henderson was selected as the third pick in the first round of the NBA draft (not in the third round).

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