Damian Lillard’s long-standing desire has finally come to fruition, albeit not in its entirety. Reports have surfaced that the Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of acquiring the illustrious seven-time All-Star guard from the Portland Trail Blazers with a complex three-team trade involving the Phoenix Suns. In this multifaceted transaction, several notable players are on the move. Heading to the Blazers are Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, and Toumani Camara, along with the Bucks’ 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick and the rights to swap picks in 2028 and 2030.
Photo Cred: The Boston Globe
Meanwhile, the Suns will acquire Jusuf Nurkić, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson. Lillard’s yearning for a change of scenery became apparent on the second day of 2023’s free agency. This decision followed years of seeming indecision in Portland’s efforts to construct a championship-caliber team around him.
It’s worth noting that Lillard inked a lucrative two-year, max contract extension during the summer of 2022. This extension binds him to a colossal $216.2 million payday over the next four seasons, with a significant chunk, $63.2 million, coming in the 2026-27 campaign. Last season was a resurgence for Lillard, as he tallied a career-high average of 32.2 points per game.
Photo Cred: Sporting News
This remarkable feat came off a couple of injury-riddled seasons that saw him miss 77 games, more than double the number of games he sat out during the first ten seasons of his illustrious career. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers failed to make the postseason in the past two years. While Lillard undeniably left an indelible mark on the franchise, leading them to eight postseason appearances, including an appearance in the Western Conference finals during the 2018-19 season, playoff success largely eluded the Blazers.
Despite boasting arguably the franchise’s greatest player in history, they perennially exited in the early rounds and never reached the zenith of the league. Lillard departs from Portland as the Blazers’ all-time leading scorer, a milestone he achieved in 2022 when he surpassed Clyde Drexler, amassing an impressive 19,376 points. Additionally, he holds the franchise records for three-pointers made, free throws made, and scoring average, cementing his legacy as a true icon in Portland.