The entire basketball world was shocked when news broke that the Milwaukee Bucks had struck a blockbuster deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard. As it turns out, even the players had a similar reaction the moment they realized that Dame Time was headed to Milwaukee.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Looks Back on Damian Lillard’s Trade to Milwaukee Bucks
According to Antetokounmpo, he was in the middle of a workout session when he first learned about the Lillard trade. Apparently, Giannis was kept in the dark by the Bucks brass as they negotiated Lillard’s blockbuster move to Milwaukee — and they had a very compelling reason as to why they did.
“I was in the weight room. I was lifting weights and then, I don’t want to say who was next to me, somebody on the phone said. ‘Oh!’ I don’t know what was going on,” Giannis said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I always try to be locked in and finish my job, but I could hear (whispering). I turn and say, ‘What’s going on?’ And they said nothing to me, they just showed me (pantomimes holding out a phone). …
“It’s hard. I went to the locker room and talk(ed) a little bit with Khris. Finish talk(ing) with Khris, came back up, finish my work because at the end of the day no matter what is going on I’ve got to finish my work, I have to finish what I started. Went back in and got back on the phone with Jrue, you know? Talked, kind of (to) hear where his head was. Talked a little bit, dropped the phone, did my recovery, went back home, and just spent two quiet days kind of reflecting and understanding what all the situation was.”
First of all, the fact that Giannis still powered through his workout even after this landscape-shifting news broke is a clear testament to Antetokounmpo’s dedication.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is how much of a bittersweet moment this was for him. Much like Dame, Giannis also wanted to play alongside Lillard on the same team. However, the fact that they had to give up Jrue Holiday in order to land Dame is a tough, tough blow for the Bucks.
Giannis called Holiday immediately after learning about the trade, which must have been a very difficult conversation between them.
The Bucks organization knew how close Anteotkounmpo was with Jrue, which is why they opted not to keep him in the loop during trade discussions.
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