Damian Lillard is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks in a massive, league-shaking trade that saw Giannis Antetokounmpo get paired with the best point guard he’s ever played with — and Damian Lillard get placed on the best team he’s ever been on.
In exchange, the Bucks are sending a 2029 unprotected first rounder, two unprotected pick swaps, and Jrue Holiday to the Portland Trail Blazers, with Grayson Allen going to Phoenix. From the Blazers perspective, the Milwaukee future first plus swapping Jusuf Nurkic for Deandre Ayton was a superior offer to anything Miami could present, but it also allows them to continue seeking out more future assets by shopping Holiday around to other contenders, as Adrian Wojnarowski reports they plan on doing.
The Blazers remain engaged elsewhere on deals and will are expected to immediately engage contending teams on trade talks to move on Jrue Holiday, sources tell ESPN. Portland is committed to its young group of talented guards. https://t.co/6IR7bcFVrr
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 27, 2023
Holiday is considered the NBA’s premier perimeter defender, and will have plenty of value to teams looking to contend. Pretty much any playoff hopeful that is in the market for a point guard (including, yes, the Miami Heat) will probably have interest in Holiday and he should fetch them at least another first round pick. We’ll likely have to wait for the Holiday portion of this deal to get done before it’s officially announced, as it would be much easier to reroute Holiday to a fourth team all as part of one trade than deal him separately, but exactly where he ends up remains to be seen.
Figuring out who will be the frontrunner for Holiday is particularly difficult, as you can talk yourself into him making sense in an awful lot of places. All the teams in the Lillard sweepstakes still figure to want a point guard upgrade, while he’s the type of guard who can fit in alongside an established point guard as well, providing a strong defensive presence and secondary ball-handler to alleviate pressure off of another star guard.