The Milwaukee Bucks sent shockwaves through the NBA, and especially the Eastern Conference, when they traded Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, a 2029 first round pick, and the right to swap two picks in exchange for seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard.
Holiday, who was traded to the Portland Trailblazers, was in turn traded to the Boston Celtics for Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III, and two first round picks.
The Bucks and Celtics will clearly be the top two teams in the East, and the upcoming playoff battles between the two teams (if everyone stays healthy) will be the things legends are made of.
Even before Holiday was sent to Boston, though, there were some detractors who believe that Lillard is not an improvement for Milwaukee.
Former Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach George Karl Thinks Jrue Holiday Is Better Than Damian Lillard in the Playoffs
Former Bucks head coach George Karl does not have what one might call a happy fanbase in the city of Milwaukee. While he did lead the 2000-01 team to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, his dealings with stars Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, and Glenn Robinson left a bitter taste in the mouths of many.
Allen, in particular, was traded to the Seattle Supersonics on Karl’s request in exchange for a washed-up Gary Payton and average role player Desmond Mason. Cassell and Robinson each left in subsequent years. Each member of that Big Three won a NBA Championship before Giannis was able to bring on the Milwaukee.
That all being said, Karl angered Bucks fans again late last week when he said the following regarding Milwaukee’s trade for Lillard:
“I think [Damian] Lillard probably makes them more exciting, more explosive… But to be honest with you, in the playoffs, [Jrue] Holiday might be better than Lillard,”
— Former Bucks head coach George Karl 👀
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 30, 2023
Of course, Holiday has won a NBA Championship while Lillard has not. That being said, Lillard never played with anyone as talented as Giannis, or could be in the same conversation.
Additionally, Holiday’s poor play in the two postseasons following the Bucks’ NBA title have been rather frustrating, especially since he was supposed to step up as the team’s second option with Khris Middleton injured.
Now, Lillard is the Bucks’ second option, and perhaps the best second option in the NBA right now.
Milwaukee Bucks Fans Clap Back at George Karl
As mentioned, Bucks fans do not have a favorable view of Karl due to the breakup of Milwaukee’s Big Three in the early 2000’s. The Lillard trade is a monumental one in team history, and to have one of their own former coaches dump on the deal in that way did not sit well with fans:
George Karl needs to keep his opinions on the Bucks to himself. The man’s ego torpedoed the organization for over a decade. https://t.co/REgH8shCTR
— Milwaukee’s Philliest Goose (@BucksinPhilly) September 30, 2023
George Karl would trade prime Dame for 1 year of Patrick Beverley. We don’t care what he has to say. https://t.co/dkXLefvwFa
— JWills (@itsjwills) September 30, 2023
I don’t think George Karl should ever comment on trades involving the Bucks https://t.co/OuBW1QRk1L
— John F Hennessy (@jonextradisre) September 30, 2023
i don’t think i’ve ever heard a good take from George Karl https://t.co/gvglcZvtyS
— A ✩ (@adryanashton) October 1, 2023
George Karl running Ray Allen out of Milwaukee should preclude him from ever commenting on the Bucks https://t.co/tIv5xtWKaw
— Entei Shikari (@awolmarshall) September 30, 2023
The point that all Bucks fans have is that Ray Allen, up until Giannis was drafted in 2013, was the best player that the franchise had developed in over a decade. Allen, of course, would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and became the NBA’s all-time three-point leader for a short time before Steph Curry shattered his record.
Perhaps it is best that, in trades involving the Bucks, Coach Karl just keep his opinions to himself.