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Damian Lillard, Deandre Ayton, and Jrue Holiday traded in blockbuster three-team deal

The Damian Lillard era in Portland has come to an end with a bang. He’ll be teaming up with Giannis.

Damian Lillard Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have traded star point guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a blockbuster three-team trade that also includes the Phoenix Suns, according to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Bucks are parting with Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen (to the Suns), unprotected picks, first-round pick swaps in 2028 & 2030, and an unprotected first-round pick in 2029 to acquire Lillard. The Blazers are sending Lillard to Milwaukee and trading Jusuf Nurkić, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson to the Suns, who are sending Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara to the Blazers.

The news will obviously send shockwaves throughout the NBA and addresses several unsettled situations. There has been growing speculation that Bucks megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo was growing frustrated in Milwaukee and might force his way out after next season. The front office hopes replacing Jrue Holiday with Lillard will put them over the top. Lillard is far from the dynamic defensive player that Holiday is, but the Bucks have been held back by a lack of potent scoring depth, which Lillard immediately upgrades.

Lillard had requested a trade earlier this offseason, hoping to land in a situation that gave him a better chance to reach the postseason. The Suns have also had a tumultuous relationship with Ayton. The former number-one overall pick has been a productive big man but has had uneasy relationships with some teammates and coaches. Now, he’ll head to Portland, where he, Holiday, and recent second-overall pick Scoot Henderson will try to help the Blazers return to contention.

The Suns added plenty of depth to their roster, which was depleted last season when they acquired Kevin Durant from the Nets. Little, Johnson, and Allen immediately become some of their top options off the bench. They also replaced Ayton with the veteran Nurkić, who has been consistently productive but struggled to stay healthy throughout his career.

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