There was a huge trade that went down in the NBA today. The Portland Trailblazers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns completed a three team trade that may change the landscape of this upcoming season.
- Bucks Receive: Damian Lillard
- Blazers Receive: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 1st round pick via Bucks, and a pick swap with the Bucks
- Suns Receive: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen
Did each team get better from this deal? If so, how much did they improve? Which team won the deal?
Bucks Grade: A+
The Milwaukee Bucks are now the front runner in the eastern conference after acquiring Damian Lillard. Lillard is one of the best guards in the NBA. Last season he averaged 32.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Lillard shot 46% from the floor and 37% from three point range. The “Big 3” of Lillard, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best trio in the NBA. The only other big three that compares is the Suns trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal.
Antetokounmpo recently applied pressure to the organization when he made an appearance on the 48 minutes podcast. He said, “I’m a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I’m a winner. … If there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien I have to take that better situation.” This trade should definitely show the “Greek Freak” that the Bucks are serious about being the best situation for him to win.
Another part of this trade that makes it an A+ deal for the Bucks. Is that they only give up Jrue Holiday and draft picks. They are a team that is set to win now and those draft picks have very little value for them. Holiday is an excellent player who played very well for Milwaukee. The Bucks will not be as good on defense without Holiday but the upgrade on the offensive end is major. How will teams defend a Lillard and Antetokounmpo pick and roll with Middleton and Brook Lopez as outlets? This offense will be one of, if not the best in the NBA.
Blazers Grade: A-
The Portland Trailblazers waited for the what they believed to be the right deal. It was known around the league that Damian Lillard no longer wanted to be there. That usually would hinder the leverage of the team trading the disgruntled superstar. In this case, it did not. Portland got back an all-star caliber guard in Jrue Holiday who can still play at a high level along with being a great veteran presence for their young players. They also got back a former number one overall pick who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game last season in Deandre Ayton.
The Blazers got back two quality starters and two draft picks that could be very good down the line. This team will be competitive this year while also building towards the future. They may also be able to trade Holiday for more young players or draft picks. If a team sees Holiday as their missing piece to a championship.
Suns Grade: C-
The Phoenix Suns traded away Deandre Ayton and their second round pick from this years’ draft Toumani Camara. The biggest piece they got in return was Jusuf Nurkic. The center averaged 13.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season. He has also dealt with injuries over the last few seasons. He played in 145 out of a possible 246 games over the last three years. Ayton played in 194 games over that same span. Ayton has been more durable and more productive than Nurkic. Nurkic also isn’t the defensive player that he once was. He has averaged less than one block per game over the last two seasons.
The other veteran piece they got back in this deal is Grayson Allen. Allen is a “3 and D” type player that can fit in well along side Beal, Booker, and Durant. Last season he averaged 10.4 points per game while shooting 44% from the floor and just under 40% from three.
The other two players the Suns got back are young and unproven. Nassir Little and Keon Johnson may not be a big part of the rotation. It’s hard to believe that this is the best deal the Suns could of gotten for Deandre Ayton.