The Milwaukee Bucks are headed into a somewhat surprising off-season. After their early exit from the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Bucks moved on from their head coach Mike Budenholzer. In the wake of the early exit and new head coach for the 2023 season, many are speculating that the Bucks could make a splash move this off-season. As it turns out, the Bucks have been widely named in a trade scenario that would land a player long-rumored to team up with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee Bucks Widely Named In Trade That Would Land Star Damian Lillard
According to James Foglio of Basketball Insiders:
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers retweeted an image of himself and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Portland jerseys, but the more ideal scenario is Lillard asking for a trade to Milwaukee. The six-time All-NBA member inked a two-year, $121.77 million max veteran extension with the Trail Blazers last July.
Lillard made $42,492,492 this season and is projected to earn $45,640,084 in 2023-24. More importantly, the guard exercised his $48,787,676 player option with Portland for 2024-25 last offseason as well. If a deal manifests in the months ahead between the two teams, the guard cannot be traded until July 9 due to contract restrictions.
The Trail Blazers or Bucks trading away their superstar will be a tall order. What general manager would want to move on from a player who just averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game in only 58 starts? Lillard dealt with an abdominal injury in the 2021-22 season, but he’s still one of the best players in the league today.
Likewise, Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 31.1 points in 63 starts this past regular season. For one downside of such a trade, the Bucks would probably have to tear their team apart to acquire Damian Lillard. That’s not practical for a championship contender.
Bucks G.M. Jon Horst might have to package Jrue Holiday and/or Pat Connaughton, along with at least a second-round draft pick for the Trail Blazers star. This is not ideal for a team that finished with an Eastern Conference-best record of 58-24.
Even then, Portland G.M. Joe Cronin could put his foot down and demand at least one first-rounder. At the age of 32, Lillard just played the best season offensively of his 11-year career. If the Bucks had to give up Holiday, a first-rounder, and Connaughton for Damian Lillard, that might not sit well with some Milwaukee fans. The price will be high.
James makes an excellent point, some Bucks fans wouldn’t be happy with what the team would have to give up to go get someone like Damian Lillaard. However, that addition would immediately makes the Milwaukee Bucks NBA Finals favorites going into next season.
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I don’t see why Milwaukee fans would be upset. If trading Jrue Holiday, Pat Connaughton and a first-round pick lands Damian Lillard, they should be ecstatic.