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Days After Giannis Antetokounmpo Threatens Exit, Damian Lillard Ditches Jimmy Butler and Miami Heat to Join Ex-NBA Champion

Published 09/27/2023, 2:56 PM EDT

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It looks like the Trade saga that has rambled on for the entirety of the offseason is finally heading toward a conclusion. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is finally being traded. And it looks like he will be joining Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. This is a huge development for all parties concerned. Damian Lillard can finally play with an All-Star caliber player and win his first NBA title at Milwaukee. Whereas, Bucks fans can breathe a sigh of relief because the acquisition of Dame means Giannis will most likely re-sign with the Bucks.

According to Shams Charania, the Blazers, Suns, and the Bucks have agreed to a three-team trade. The Bucks will acquire Damian Lillard, the Suns will get Jusuf Nurkic and the Blazers will get disgruntled Suns’ center, DeAndre Ayton.

A Trade with Massive Implications

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With NBA Media Day just around the corner, the Blazers were desperately trying to trade Damian Lillard. On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Blazers have traded Dame to the Milwaukee Bucks as a part of three team trade, including Phoenix Suns. Portland will receive DeAndre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected Milwaukee first-round pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030 in the deal. Whereas, the Suns would get Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.

This blockbuster trade could have implications throughout the league. The Bucks instantly become the odds-on favorite for the NBA title with Dame on their roster. The Suns acquire much needed depth with talented players like Nurkic, Allen and Little while trading away disgruntled center DeAndre Ayton. Ayton was a target for the Blazers for a long time. And he fits perfectly with the young core of Simons, Scoot and Sharpe. The Blazers might also look to trade Jrue Holiday before the trade deadline, as he is not on their timeline.

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A Hammerblow for the Miami Heat

After leading the race for Dame’s signature for the entire offseason, failure to get Dame to ‘Vice City’ could be catastrophic for the Heat. The Heat were Lillard’s preferred destination, but still a deal could not come to fruition. The rumored inclusion of Tyler Herro in the Dame trade could create team chemistry issues.

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With the trade deadline still five months away, Pat Riley needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat to strengthen their roster. Pat Riley has a reputation of not over-paying for any particular player. He is patient and during the season, many stars might request a trade and the Heat would be in prime position to grab any particular opportunities. Jimmy Butler needs help if they are to repeat last year’s heroics. Will Pat Riley’s patience bear fruits? Will the Bucks win after acquiring Dame? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Singh

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Dushyant Singh is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. His basketball script journey began in 2020 when he was captivated by the Los Angeles Lakers’ triumphant NBA championship win. Before that he was merely dribbling and dunking as a boy next door.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja